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High school softball: Tully homers, leads Panthers past Huskies

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If there truly is a first time for everything, the Lincoln County and Herbert Hoover softball teams experienced that in one pitch on Thursday night at Falling Rock's Michael D. Chandler Field.

Lincoln County sophomore designated player Megan Tully hit her first varsity home run for the Panthers, which also was the first one surrendered by Hoover sophomore pitcher Allison Rager, and the game winner, in the Panthers' 2-0 victory.

In a scoreless game in the third inning, Tully, Lincoln County's No. 9 hitter, drilled a Rager offering well over the left-center field fence to give the Panthers the game's first run.

"It was pretty big because we only scored two runs," Tully said. "After I touched first base and rounded it, I knew it went over. I was pretty excited because it was my first one in varsity."

Lincoln County Coach Rod Hoover understood the significance of the homer.

"That was huge, especially when you get a shot like that from your No. 9 hitter," he said. "Top to bottom, we have power all the way throughout our lineup. She's not a No. 9 hitter on most teams."

Hoover had a conversation with Tully right before her home run that seemed to help his sophomore designated player.

"Right before she went up, I told her they think you're a nine hitter and you're going to see some pitches," Hoover said. "She stepped up and put a good shot on one."

Huskies Coach Missy Smith realized they weren't facing a typical No. 9 hitter.

"That's their DP (designated player) and we knew that was their big bat," Smith said. "A lot of times coaches are using their No. 9 hitter as more of a role in the lineup. She hit a shot tonight, that's for sure. When it left her bat, I knew it was out of here."

It was the first home run given up by Rager, who went through an entire season on the mound her freshman year without surrendering one. Last season, Rager was 22-5 pitching for the Huskies, who fell one game shy of reaching the State Tournament.

"She threw a really good game tonight," Smith said.

"She just made one or two mistakes. Any time your pitcher gets you that kind of game, you expect to win. I hate that we couldn't get it done for her tonight."

Rager only allowed four hits in the complete game, but she was out-dueled by fellow sophomore Faith Huffman, who also gave up just four hits for Lincoln County.

"Every time we put her on the mound, she has come up big and handled herself very well," Hoover said. "We have two very strong pitchers and we have full confidence in either one at any time, against any team."

Lincoln County right fielder Amy Lambert drove in the other Lincoln County run in the fourth inning to provide the Panthers with an insurance run.

The Huskies threatened numerous times, but couldn't plate any runs against Huffman. Hoover stranded four runners in scoring position, including three times with one out or less.


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