The Lady Bulldogs of GMC Prep defended their home field for the first time this season, earning themselves a dominant 8-0 victory against the visiting Monticello Lady Canes Monday.
Bella Herring tossed five shutout innings and collected five strikeouts before she was eventually relieved by Lea Jannakos in the sixth inning.
The Lady Bulldogs offense had no shortage of contributors as the entire lineup chipped in; especially junior Makenna Talcott, who cracked a two-run homer to right center in the second inning as part of her 4-for-4 day at the plate.
Herring settled into her role inside the circle immediately, striking out the first batter she faced. The next Cane batter reached base on a single, but catcher Mallory Watts threw a laser to catch the runner stealing, which kept the base paths empty. Herring battled and struck out the next batter she faced to hand the bats over to her own side.
Talcott led off for the Lady Bulldogs and reached on a single slapped over the second baseman’s head. Next, Riley Barsby hit a hot shot to third. The ball was overthrown on the relay to second and Talcott did not hesitate as she wheeled around the bases before sliding in at home to establish the early 1-0 lead. With Barsby comfortably at third, Whitley Ward, GMC Prep’s lone senior, stepped up to the plate and delivered with a shot right up the middle of the diamond that extended the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0.
In the top of the second inning, Herring picked up where she left off, collecting a pair of strikeouts to go along with a short groundout back to her that ended the inning in 1-2-3 fashion.
During the bottom half, Dawn Bryan was able to reach first base on an error to flip the lineup over and bring Talcott back to the plate. After working the count into her favor, Talcott absolutely smashed the softball, sending it well over the fence in center on a line shot to give the home side a four-run lead.
In the Lady Canes’ half of the inning, a single and an error placed runners on first and second base. Herring maintained her composure and allowed her defense to work behind her. After two popouts, a spectacular diving catch by Mary Katherine Lawrence in center held the opposing runners at bay and finished yet another scoreless inning for the home team.
The Bulldog bats did not let up as the home opener wore on as they widened the margin from four to seven, a number that had GMC head coach Jennifer Deason feeling comfortable enough to pull Herring once the sixth inning rolled around. She was relieved by Jannakos, who came off the bench and onto the mound without missing a beat. Leaning on the seven-run lead, Jannakos retired the side in order after striking out the first two batters she faced to hand the offense back over to the home team.
The sixth frame would be the last inning of play as the Lady Bulldogs slammed the door shut, forcing an early ending to the game by enabling the enforcement of the eight-run rule. Bryan led off with an infield hit followed by a single by Talcott. Next Barsby hit a little bloop to the left of the mound that fell and loaded the bases for the Lady Bulldogs.
Ward stepped up to the plate and came through once again for her teammates, this time connecting on a hot shot that snuck by the Monticello third baseman and allowed Bryan to score, thus ending the ball-game and advancing GMC’s record to 3-0.
The Lady Dogs will look to carry Monday’s momentum into today when they take on Emanuel County Institute at home. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Couch Field.