Lady Tigers get blanketed by Forest
Two weeks ago the Lady Tigers picked up their biggest win of the season against the defending 6A state champions, Ocala Forest — handing the Lady Cats their first home loss since 2014.
But Forest would arrive in Lake City with a vengeance for the second meeting against Columbia Friday night.
Lady Cats’ ace Morgan White surrendered only one hit to the Lady Tigers, and recorded 10 strikeouts as Forest trumped Columbia 10-0.
White, a 2015 Florida Dairy Famers Miss Softball recipient, also drove in three runs, one of which coming from a two-run blast in the opening side.
Columbia dropped its fifth straight game as the young Lady Tigers (3-7) barely threatened the veteran Lady Cats (7-4) in the rematch.
“These girls are out here bustin’ their butt to be able to play against this level,” coach Trudy Andrews said of her team. “I think they’re doing a great job. Now do we need to clean up some things? Most definitely. They’re going to pick it up, and we know it. They got to stay hungry and don’t panic. These [losses] are stepping stones and building blocks.”
Pitcher Alaina Perry got the start for Columbia, but it was Cris’Deona Beasley who would try to keep the Lady Tigers in contention with her play on the mound.
Beasley relieved Perry in the second inning while the Lady Tigers trailed 2-0. The freshman soon settled in, and didn’t give up a hit for three straight innings.
Yet without reinforcement from Columbia’s sluggers, Forest managed to extend its lead in the sixth inning when Jasmine Haynes recorded a RBI single.
Forest outfielder Abby Conrad followed with a three-run home run. Perry returned for Columbia, but to no avail.
After Forest shortstop Lexie Wall’s 2-RBI double, third baseman Reese Trotti added another run with a sacrifice fly.
White’s RBI double and three strikeouts in the seventh topped off a solid complete game performance at the plate and on the mound. The senior is committed to Florida Gulf Coast University.
It doesn’t get easier for the Lady Tigers as they enter their district schedule.
Columbia travels to Middleburg and Vanguard in its next two games to kick off a three-game road trip that ends with Trinity Christian Academy. The Lady Tigers edged the Vanguard Knights earlier in the season.
“I have a lot of faith in these girls,” Andrews added. “They’re an awesome team. We’ve gone through the hardest part of the season and we’re prepared to go where we need to be.”