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Keep On Truckin’

Boyd blast lifts Lady Rebels back into state tournament

Raven Boyd trots home to waiting teammates after her second inning home run gave Maryville a lead it never relinquished in a sectional game on Friday at Everett Park. Photos by G.W. Meredith

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Wake up. Be awesome. Get a new truck.

The Lady Rebels huddle in the outfield prior to the game.

That’s kind of the way it went for Raven Boyd on Friday.

The Maryville High School sophomore homered to left to lead off the second inning, the deep blast proving all the Lady Rebels needed in a 6-1 sectional win over Daniel Boone at Everett Park.

The win put the Lady Rebels (34-12) back in the state tournament after a year’s absence, with play in the BlueCross Spring Fling in Murfreesboro beginning on Tuesday.

“I think it’s just a testament to the girls and the work they’ve put into it,” Maryville coach David Allen said. “Our girls aren’t happy unless they’re playing in this game.”

Boyd was mobbed by teammates at home plate after her solo shot staked Maryville to a 2-1 lead. After the game, the good times continued as mom, Ginger, and dad, Stephen, presented Raven with a new Toyota pickup in advance of her 16th birthday next month.

“Hit a home run. Go to state. Got a truck,” said Raven, whose go-ahead long ball was her fifth this season.

“State’s good,” she added, “but the truck’s good, too.”

Junior Madison Ogle makes the delivery Friday.

The Trailblazers threatened to make the new truck a consolation prize after half an inning. A pair of singles and two walks had Maryville ace Madison Ogle looking up at a 1-0 deficit with the Lady Rebels coming to bat.

“I had nerves; everybody had nerves,” senior catcher Haley Hilliard said. “Somebody stepped up, and that’s when we got comfortable with it.”

Sophomore second baseman Hannah Rines led off the Maryville first with a single to left. Taylor Hodge popped up deep enough behind third to get the run home and tie the score.

Boyd got the Lady Rebels the lead an inning later, with designated hitter Kati Lann singling her way aboard and coming around on Sarabeth Reeves’ double to straightaway center for a 3-1 advantage.

The Reeves rip was all the more impressive considering she only switched to the left side as a hitter this season, Allen, at least initially, taking advantage of her speed as a slap hitter.

“Then I started hitting away and getting big hits,” Reeves said. “I hit my first home run on senior night.”

Ogle settled after her opening frame. Daniel Boone scattered five hits the rest of the way, none of them in the same inning.

“Boone’s such a powerful team,” Allen said. “They hit the ball hard, so you’re never really comfortable.”

The Maryville offense erasing the first-inning deficit was big, Ogle said. Equally important was the defense behind the junior fireballer, Hodge, at first, and Reeves, in center, in particular.

Taylor Hodge makes the stretch to record the putout at first.

Hodge stretched to collect a series of throws at first to deny the Trailblazers base runners. In the Daniel Boone third, Reeves, ranging to her right, ran down a sure extra-base hit for the second out of the inning, stifling a potential Trailblazer rally.

“I really thought I was going to miss it,” Reeves said. “I almost stopped.”

Boyd did her part as well, a gun-throw from third in the Daniel Boone fifth helping to ensure Ogle had largely empty bases to work with for the duration.

“I knew they would have my back throughout the game,” Ogle said, “and I had to have theirs.”

Rines tripled and scored in the Maryville fourth, with Lindsay Watson drawing a two-out walk to board. Both crossed on a Trailblazer error during a Hilliard at bat. Kayla Tillie walked and scored in the Maryville fifth for the final margin.

Hannah Rines lays down the bunt for the Lady Rebels.

They’d first thought of giving Raven her birthday present in the morning before school, Ginger said. Tillie, Raven’s best friend on the team, had been alerted, then called off by text at the last minute.

When her teammates popped up out of the truck bed, Raven, finishing the last of her interviews at the time, sprinted up the hillside to her new wheels.

“That’s the fastest she’s ever run,” Tillie said. “She’s never run to base that fast.”












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