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Lady Rebels edge Lady Patriots
Gracie Whaley makes key defensive contribution late in game
Effingham County right fielder Gracie Whaley makes a sliding catch of a fly ball for a fifth-inning out Tuesday against Pinewood Christian. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
If that ball falls, that’s a whole different ball game right there.
Lady Rebels coach Johnny Coleman
SPRINGFIELD — On a day when her team’s bats were unusually quiet, Gracie Whaley made a little noise with her glove at Rebel Field. Effingham County’s right fielder made a sliding catch on a fly ball near the foul line in the fifth inning Tuesday, smothering a potential rally right after her team had taken a 4-0 lead. The Lady Rebels went on to win 4-2. “If that ball falls, that’s a whole different ball game right there,” Effingham County coach Johnny Coleman said. Coleman was not surprised by Whaley’s stellar defensive work. “She’s been awesome,” he said. “She’s playing a position that she hasn’t played since middle school but she’s playing it really well.” The Lady Rebels relied on their defense because runs were hard to come by against Lady Patriots pitcher Cierra Kinlaw. The southpaw kept them off balance most of the game, getting 19 of 21 outs via fly balls and pop-ups. “We believe in trying to hit the ball hard but we didn’t make very good adjustments tonight,” Coleman said. “(Kinlaw) had pretty good spin on (the ball) but we still should have hit it harder than we did. It can be tough adjusting from somebody who throws really hard to somebody who is a little slower. “By the third time around, though, we should have made that adjustment.” The Lady Rebels, who collected only four hits, got all their runs in the fourth inning. Makenzie Crews and Bailee Wilson delivered RBI hits. Wilson’s was a two-RBI double. Pinewood Christian gots its runs in its last at-bat against Julia Carter, who surrendered only three hits. She issued a walk and hit a batter to start the inning, however, and her situation was complicated by an error. Wilson, who was playing third base, replaced Carter in the circle and got the final out of the game on a fly ball to left fielder Ashley Wilson. Effingham County will play at home again Wednesday at 5 p.m. against Screven County. It also has a home game against Calvary Day at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Lady Rebels 8-2 will wrap up a busy week Saturday with two games at Evans.