A walk to Branson’s lead-off hitter Hadley Blake, a pair of wild pitches moving Blake to third and a 2-1 count to Avery Aulgur appeared to put the Lady Pirates in control.
However, a quick visit from Republic coach Lee Dishman, three consecutive strikeouts, and Rook and the rest of her Republic teammates were rolling. The Lady Tigers took control early and run-ruled Branson by a score of 14-3 to move to 6-0 on the season.
“Rachel and I had to have a little meeting out there,” said Dishman, who shooed her infield teammates away from the first-inning conversation. “She wasn’t very focused to start the game. And once she got focused she was fine. It’s times like that I have to remember she’s a freshman out there.”
Rook worked all five innings for Republic striking out seven, walking three and hitting two batters. She allowed six hits, and two of the three runs were earned.
The Republic offense dominated the game with 11 hits and took advantage of five Branson errors to improve their COC mark to 2-0. Branson fell to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Sophomore third baseman Lauren Strobel led the Republic attack with a pair of triples, and a double. Strobel scored three runs and drove in five. She scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first after reaching on an error, stealing second and coming home on an RBI single up the middle by Danielle Shelton.
Republic scored in every inning as Emily Hall, Caty Eby and Angela Holmes drove in runs in the second. Strobel’s second inning triple plated two giving Republic a comfortable 6-0 lead after two.
Branson responded with three, two-out runs in the top of the third. Aulgur was hit by a Rook pitch and went to third on a double by Emily Calovich. After a walk to Tino Stevens, a pair of wild pitches brought home Aulgur and Calovich and a single drove home Stevens to make the score 6-3.
Republic answered with two in the third and six more in the fourth to put the game away. The Lady Tigers had just one hit in the six-run fourth, Strobel’s second triple of the game, to go with four Branson errors.
“Our offense isn’t built on power,” said Dishman. “We are built on speed and putting pressure on the other team. We are six games into the season, and there are numerous things tonight I saw we need to work on. But the good thing about this team is, nobody is going to outwork us. We might lose, but we will lose getting dirty playing at 100 percent all the time.”
Central Ozark Conference
Branson 003 00 – 3 4 5
Republic 152 6x-14 11 1
Ashley Forrest and Kinzee Penner; Rachel Rook and Emily Hall.
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