ROFF — The Roff Lady Tigers did their best John Wayne impersonation Friday night and showed some True Grit in their season opener against Class A power Caddo.
After falling behind 3-1, the host Lady Tigers pushed across five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and rallied for a tense 6-4 victory.
Roff starts the season off at 1-0, while Caddo — which qualified for the Class A State Tournament in 2018 — dropped to 0-2.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more than a ‘W’ right there,” said Roff head coach Jason Trimmer. “We didn’t hit the ball well at all. To go out and beat a team like Caddo, who’s going to be near the top in Class A, and to do it with as many mistakes as we made ... I couldn’t be more proud.”
Roff got off to a slow start at the plate, managing just three hits through the first four innings. Caddo hurler Emily Robinson retired 10 of 11 RHS batter in a row during one stretch.
Roff responded with the big fifth inning. Sidney Wright led off with a walk, went to second on a passed ball and scored on an RBI hit by Alliyah Reeves that cut the Caddo lead to 3-2.
A sacrifice bunt by Maddie Adair sent Reeves to third. Camden Simon then hit the ball to the second baseman, who tried to throw Reeves out at the plate. However, the RHS runner got to the plate just before the ball did, and the score was knotted at 3-3.
Paige Mayfield, Danleigh Harris and Kailyn Gore then each supplied back-to-back-to-back RBI singles to give Roff a 6-3 edge.
“That’s where we’ve kind of expanded upon last spring. We’d get behind six or seven runs, and we’d go get about nine. In fastpitch, if you can get behind two and then go get three, that’s the way you get it done,” Trimmer said.
It was a nice debut for Harris, a freshman who played junior high softball at Latta. She pitched seven solid innings on the mound in her varsity debut. She struck out five, walked two and surrendered just two earned runs. Harris led an eight-hit RHS offense, finishing 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
“She’s special. We’re tickled to death to have her. As a freshman, to handle some adversity like she did was good,” Trimmer said.
Harris got out of a huge jam in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Caddo’s Kennedy Morgan hit a rocket off Harris’ thigh, resulting in an RBI single that trimmed the RHS advantage to 6-4. After a brief pause to make sure Harris was all right, she stayed in the game and ended the inning by striking out dangerous Caddo three-hole hitter Karlee Robison.
Reeves was the only other Roff player with more than one hit, going 2-for-3. Roff leadoff hitter Payton Owens went 1-for-3 with a walk and scored two runs.
Robison helped her own cause for the Lady Bruins. She went 2-for-3 and scored a walk before being intentionally walked in the top of the sixth. Morgan and Robison also had two hits each for the visitors.
Roff hosts Mill Creek at 5:30 p.m. today before Tupelo comes to town at 5:30 p.m. Friday.