There is no hiding how much the softball rivalry between Horseshoe Bend and Reeltown means to the teams involved. The two teams met for the first time this season on Thursday night and with emotions running high, Reeltown walked away with a 15-5 victory thanks to a big day at the plate and several fielding miscues by the Generals.
“It’s very important to take advantage of those (errors), especially in area play,” Reeltown coach Kelli Hilyer said. “We teach that to the girls. Get on top of the ball and force the other team to make a play.”
While the fielding errors would come, Reeltown (8-14, 1-0 Class 2A Area 7) did not need them to jump out to a big lead in the first inning. With one out, Chloe Davidson started a string of five consecutive singles as the Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
Kenzie Hornsby and Madison Ledbetter followed with RBIs on infield grounders to put Reeltown ahead 5-0 after one inning. Davidson held the Generals in check at the plate through three innings, allowing the Rebels to add to their lead.
In the third inning, Savannah Hornsby got her first of three RBIs, scoring Madison Ledbetter on a single to center field. The Rebels added six more runs in the frame, all coming with two outs, to take control.
“They did well seeing the ball and hitting the ball today,” Hilyer said. “We were effective all the way around on offense.”
The Generals made four errors in the third inning and recorded 11 total in the game. Reeltown scored 10 of its runs with two outs, proving each fielding error to be costly.
“We practiced it all yesterday, they just fell apart today,” Horseshoe Bend coach Hagen Whiteard said. “We work on that repetition but we have to continue that so we don’t make these same errors over and over. We beat ourselves more than anyone else does.”
The Generals (5-9, 1-1) scored five runs across the final two innings but it was not enough to escape the run rule. Caly Carlise, who pitched four innings in the loss for Horseshoe Bend, reached base twice and led the team with two RBIs.
Horseshoe Bend has now lost six of its last seven games. The team has averaged five fielding errors per game during that stretch and half of the runs allowed have been unearned.
“We’re really struggling right now with keeping momentum,” Whiteard said. “When we play a couple of good innings, it’s always followed by a couple of bad ones. We’re just playing very inconsistent and it’s disappointing.”
With all of the miscues by its opponent, Reeltown’s offense was still the key to victory on Thursday. The Rebels had six different players record at least two hits while Marlee Knox and Savannah Hornsby led the team with three RBIs each.
“Confidence is key in this game,” Hilyer said. “The more we can start building on that, the more comfortable they’ll start being on the field. They’ll start making the plays and hitting the ball well.”
Reeltown will be back in action with another area game on Tuesday when the Rebels host LaFayette. Horseshoe Bend will be off from area play but the Generals are already ready for the rematch with their rivals on April 16.
“I told them I hope they remember how this feels so they don’t let themselves feel this way again,” Whiteard said. “It’s always disappointing to feel like they’re so ready and to see them fall apart. It’s a matter of them finding it within themselves.”