Cullman falls in extra innings to Gardendale in home opener

Courtesy of Cullman High School on Twitter

CULLMAN – Cullman looked to win their home opener against Gardendale today. It took extra innings, but the Lady Bearcats fell, 6-1.

The first five innings saw a combined five hitters reach base for both teams. The sixth inning, Gardendale put together the first scoring threat of the game. Braedyn Ward led off the inning with a single to center field.  A sacrifice bunt by Emma Cargile, plus a groundout by Savannah Pennington, moved Ward over to third, but Sierra Easterwood got Carlee McCondichie to line out to center field to get out of the inning.

Cullman looked to push around the first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth. After a Hannah McPherson line out to start the inning, Kelsin Grimmett reached on a bunt single. Then Gracie Cook, on the first pitch, reached on an infield single. Easterwood drew a walk to load the bases for McKensi Burks, who drove in Grimmett on an RBI fielder's choice to make it 1-0, Cullman, which was the score after the inning.

Gardendale started the seventh inning strong, as Brooke Lyles led off with a double off the left-center field fence and moved to third on an infield single by Kendall Stricklin, who got thrown out at second trying to stretch the single into a double.  A suicide squeeze play by Chaney Phillips tied the game at one, which was the score after their half-inning ended.  Cullman got sent down, 1-2-3, in their half to send the game into extra innings.

In extra innings, the last player that hit in the last inning for each team was put on second base to start off the extra inning. Jaycee Dill hit a line drive single to right center field to move Kailey Vaughn over to third, and Vaughn scored on a sacrifice fly by Ward to make it 2-1. After Easterwood got Cargile to pop out on her bunt attempt, the Lady Rockets took off from there, getting five straight hits off of Easterwood, including an RBI infield single by Pennington, and back-to-back-to-back RBI singles by Lyles, Stricklin and Phillips to push the lead to 6-1. Kaitlyn Clark sent the Lady Bearcats down in order to end the game.

Clark allowed just one run on three hits, walked two and struck out one in the complete game win for Gardendale, who improves to 4-0 on the season. Lyles went 3-of-4 with an RBI, two singles and a double. Stricklin went 2-of-4 with two singles and an RBI. Phillips, Ward and Pennington each added a hit and an RBI. Dill, Vaughn, Pennington, McCondichie and Kaylee Bartlett scored for the Lady Rockets, who will travel to Corner next Monday.

Easterwood allowed 11 hits and three runs, walked one and struck out four in her complete game effort for Cullman. She went 1-of-2 with a walk. Grimmett went 1-of-3 and scored the only run of the game. Burks went 0-of-3 with an RBI. The Lady Bearcats fall to 1-1 on the season and will travel to Northside tomorrow.

Image courtesy of Cullman High School on Twitter

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