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Prep softball: Redskins' Rogers shuts down St. Albans again

By Nick Brockman

A night removed from a two-run loss at Ripley, the Hurricane softball team reversed all ill aspects from its game to win Thursday at St. Albans in six innings, 13-0.

Redskins Coach Josh Caldwell said Hurricane struggled this week, but displayed no such signs of slumping play with its resounding defeat of one of the region's perennial powers.

"We're especially happy," Caldwell said of the improvement and victory. "The last couple nights we haven't played (well) at all, we haven't played our best at all, so I kind of challenged them today and last night to come out.

"We stepped up tonight and we played a lot better than we have the last three or four nights."

Sophomore pitcher Courtney Rogers led the Redskins (21-4) in the circle and at the plate.

Rogers struck out four and threw six shutout innings, her second shutout this season versus St. Albans (19-4). Rogers previously earned the win in a 9-0 victory against the Red Dragons on April 9.

At the plate, Rogers finished 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and two-run double.

Rogers said Thursday's victory was particularly pleasing given the Redskins 12-2 loss last season to the Red Dragons.

"It means everything," she said. "It's great, because since they beat us last year badly it's great to beat them twice this year."

With the win, Hurricane has not allowed a run against St. Albans in 18 consecutive innings played.

Caldwell said he's impressed with the team's ability to not shy from the challenge of such a formidable foe.

"This is the first time we've got a win here and we've played up both times we've played them," he said, "so it's a good thing, for sure, to come down here and get a win."

Every Hurricane hitter played a hand in the victory, too, with each starter contributing a hit or run scored.

"When we're good, and we have been mostly this year, we've done that all throughout the lineup," Caldwell said. "Now, there's been a couple nights this week and one or two other times this year where we weren't focused, not dialed in and it showed. But, our lineup is pretty solid throughout, one through nine."

In addition to Roger's home run, catcher Linzie Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the sixth to extend the lead to 9-0.

Freshman first baseman Maddie Hebb had two doubles and two RBI, while senior center fielder Nicole Pierson also recorded a multi-hit game going 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Hurricane started strong behind Rogers' two-run blast in the first inning. The Redskins added five more runs in the second to take a commanding 7-0 lead.

St. Albans pitcher Ali Haynes threw three shutout innings before allowing six more runs in the sixth inning. With a 13-0 advantage in hand, Rogers retired the Red Dragons in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game.

St. Albans finished with just three hits on the night and did itself no favors defensively with four errors to extend multiple Hurricane rallies.

"It was a bad night all the way around," Red Dragons Coach Greg Garber said. "We got outhit, outpitched, outdefensed. We're 19-4 now. We didn't respond tonight. They beat us."

While Rogers didn't overpower the St. Albans lineup, she pitched well and let her defense work behind her.

"I know that our defense will do the work if they hit the ball, because we have a great defense, and I know that they will back me up," she said.

Rogers improved her record to 12-1 with the victory and displayed the same consistency on the mound she's had all season, Caldwell said.

"She's done, for a most part, a great job," he said. "She threw excellent again tonight. She hit her spots, located well and did a really good job."

More than an individual performance, though, Rogers said the victory against a traditional power like St. Albans lifts the team's confidence as Hurricane moves closer to the postseason.

"It feels great," she said. "I know that we can go in there and beat anyone, just at any moment."


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