By Gene Phelps
NETTLETON – Nettleton’s Kaleigh Tackett loves it when her slugging teammate, Jabria Pounds, is intentionally walked to get to her.
Pounds, who hit back-to-back home runs in her previous at-bats, was walked by Houston in the fifth inning of Thursday’s non-division game.
Tackett, who is equally powerful when it comes to launching the long ball, made the Lady Hilltoppers pay with a two-run home over the center field wall at James Malone Field in the Lady Tigers’ 11-1 victory.
The homer, her team-high 18th, was her second of the game.
“It’s much sweeter when you hit one after they walk Jabria,” said Tackett, a senior third baseman. “You don’t really have an option when you walk one of us.”
Pounds, who missed two weeks with a knee injury, has hit 14 homers.
“The great thing about it for us is we have a 4-hole, 5-hole, 6-hole and leadoff hitter setting the table for them,” Nettleton coach Dana Rhea said. “I think you’ve got to have a complete team to be successful.
“This is a fun team to coach.”
Nettleton (19-3), thanks to its hitting and solid defense, has already won its Division 4-3A championship and will host a first-round playoff series starting Oct. 15.
Houston (11-10), led by first-year coach Jeffrey Mann, won Division 2-4A and will host a first-round series.
The Lady Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the first on four singles and Pounds’ two-run homer. In the third, Pounds and Tackett ripped back-to-back solo shots in a three-run inning.
Tackett’s two-run blast was the big blow in the team’s four-run fifth. She ended the game on the 10-run rule with an RBI single in the sixth.
“We caught fire two weeks ago when we opened division play at Louisville,” Rhea said. “We’re swinging it well. I’m scared to talk about it. I hope it holds out three more weeks.”