The Lady Rattlers softball team split an important double header against their bitter conference rivals Bethune-Cookman College Wednesday.
The Lady Rattlers mixed aggressive base running with solid and timely defensive plays to stay competitive with the defending Mid Eastern Athletic Conference champion Wildcats.
In game 1, the Lady Rattlers fought past the Wildcats 2-1 in nine innings, beating the B-CC for the first time in two years. Sophomore Danielle Brown struck-out three of the first four batters faced, setting the game’s tone early on.
The Wildcats were the first on the scoreboard when B-CC left fielder Rhoenita Yancey singled off Brown in the third inning scoring designated hitter Desiree Hannah from third base.
That was all Brown would surrender to the Wildcats as she did damage with her bat, as well as her pitching.
In the fifth inning, Brown singled and later scored on a single by junior outfielder Eria Williams to tie the game at one.
In the sixth inning, junior Monique Mattingly came in to pitch and struck out her first batter, gaining control of the game for the Rattlers.
“That was really a pivotal point of control in the game,” said Wildcat coach Laura Watten. “They have a strong never-say-die spirit on that team, my staff and I have all the respect in the world for them. I tried to relate that to my team before we came in here today.”
The score remained tied until the ninth inning when freshman center fielder Delia McMillan from caught a fly ball hit by short stop Amber Jackson. McMillan immediately threw a laser to catcher Ruby Nugent who tagged Yancey out at the plate, bringing the crowd to their feet and Rattlers on the attack.
FAMU used the defensive spark to finish the Cats in the bottom of the ninth when Brown struck again, singling in Mattingly for the game-winning run.
“We were anxious to get them in here and show them
who we are right away,” Brown said.
Game two was just as competitive as the Wildcats jumped to an early 2-0 lead, until Nugent hit a rocket fly ball to left field that was mishandled by Yancey, scoring senior Elisha Scott from first base in the third inning.
The fourth inning was the stage for more of Brown’s firepower when she hit her fifth home run of the season over the left field fence, tying the game 2-2.
“I didn’t know it was gone until my coach said something, it was a since of relief,” Brown said.
The Wildcats answered quickly in the fifth inning, scoring on an RBI single to center field by catcher Andrea Thomas and again in the seventh on a RBI single by Thomas to give them a 4-2 lead.
In their last at-bat, the Lady Rattlers drew one run closer behind Maria Reyes’ single and a Williams RBI triple.
The Lady Rattlers rally eventually stalled with two runners in scoring position when Nugent grounded into a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“They put a new pitcher in on me, I maybe should have took a pitch or two. We’ll definitely get ’em next time in Daytona,” Nugent said after the game.
“I was very pleased with the team, we came out, stayed focus and kept composure,” said head coach Veronica Wiggins. “We call it body and soul and today everyone played their part, a total team effort.”
The Lady Rattlers will be in action again in the Buzz Classic today in Atlanta. They will face Charleston at 11 a.m.
contact Troy Weatherspoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.