Lady Cavaliers rally to win preseason game

Published 2:47 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

HOGANSVILLE – The Callaway Lady Cavaliers took a test run.

Callaway’s softball team, which opens the season on Friday, played a preseason game against Norcross on Wednesday, and it was a winning day.

Callaway rallied for six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, and it went on to claim an 8-7 victory.

Callaway opens the regular season on Friday with a home game against Early County.

Junior Jasmine Dukes helped propel Callaway in the fourth inning with a home run that sailed over the center-field fence.

That was part of a three-hit day for Dukes, who drove a double off the top of the outfield fence later in the game.

“She’s done a lot of work,” Callaway head coach Ashley Summerlin said. “She’s been real open-minded as far as working on her swing. She’s starting to see the benefits of it.”

Summerlin was also pleased with the effort of sophomore outfielder Leijorey Sanders, who had a pair of bunt singles while doing a nice job defensively.

“There’s no doubt she’s our most improved player so far,” Summerlin said of Sanders. “She’s making plays she wasn’t making last year.”

Summerlin said the bunt can be a major weapon for Sanders.

“She’s so fast, that’s all she’s got to do is get the ball on the ground,” Summerlin said. “She did that twice.”

In the first inning, it was the team’s two seniors helping put the Lady Cavaliers on the board.

Kelly Carlisle reached on a single, and she scored when Skylar Rice ripped the ball to the outfield fence for a double.

In the decisive fourth inning, two runs scored on an error when a Kailea Speer bunt was misplayed.

Next up was Dukes, and she lined the fall way over the outfield fence for the home run.

Rice kept the rally going with a base hit, and Oeisha Jenkins and Lydia Bartlett followed with back-to-back RBI singles, and Callaway had a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Jenkins had some early struggles, but she settled down and was the winning pither.

Jenkins, a junior, figures to handle the bulk of the pitching duties this season.

“She competed, which is what you’ve got to do,” Summerlin said.

Summerlin was proud of the way the team shrugged off some difficult innings early in the game to get the win.

“We were able to come back and get a big inning and hold onto the lead,” Summerlin said. “We were excited about that. We fought back.”