Blount Press Row

Arnold Answers

Lady Rebel ace pairs one-hitter with winning HR to even series with WB
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Maryville’s Caylan Arnold nears the plate after her two-run home run in the sixth put the Lady Rebels ahead. Photos by Geoff Kashif

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

William Blount's Erin Hill gets into her windup.

William Blount’s Erin Hill gets into her windup.

Here’s the thing …

William Blount left-hander Erin Hill threw a gem, limiting Maryville to no runs on two hits with one left aboard through five innings.

Caylan Arnold was just that good Thursday.

The Lady Rebel junior and Tennessee commitment backed a one-hitter in the pitching circle with a two-run, winning home run in the bottom of the sixth as Maryville rallied to overtake the Lady Governors, 2-1, at John Sevier Elementary.

The win lifts Maryville (20-4, 8-2 District 4AAA) into a one-game lead atop the league standings. William Blount (23-7, 8-3), which defeated the Lady Rebels, 4-0, earlier this season, falls into a second-place tie with Bearden.

Defensively, Arnold powered through the William Blount batting order on 15 strikeouts.

She was perfect through 3 2/3 innings, eight of the 11 outs on Ks.

Retiring the side in order on strikeouts to start the game, there wasn’t an inning where the future Lady Vol didn’t fan at least two.

“We were just looking for someone to do something good to help us out,” Maryville coach David Allen said. “We’ve said all year, ‘You get it started for us,’ and she did her job.”

Amanda Coffey gets a no-look high five from a Lady Governor assistant after plating the go-ahead run.

Montana Coffey gets a no-look high five from a Lady Governor assistant after plating the go-ahead run.

The University of South Carolina Upstate commitment Hill countered with an impressive four-hitter.

“She pitched a heckuva ball game,” William Blount coach Amanda Leatherwood said. “It was a tough loss.”

With both pitchers on their game, a case of heartache-fueled redemption provided the eventual winning margin.

The Lady Governors took the lead in the fourth when, with two out, back-to-back grounders through the right side from Montana Coffey and McKenzie Henry both eluded the glove of Lady Rebel second baseman Hannah Rines.

Ashyln Cooper singled to center to collect William Blount’s lone hit a batter later but was left aboard when Arnold closed the inning on a strikeout.

Hannah Rines points back at Arnold, trailing on the base paths, after Arnold's sixth-inning homer puts Maryville out front.

Hannah Rines points back at Arnold, trailing on the base paths, after Arnold’s sixth-inning homer puts Maryville out front.

After the inning, Arnold made her way quickly to her second baseman.

“I told her, ‘It’s a team effort; it’s not one person or one mistake,’” Arnold said. “I told her, ‘You’ve got this. There’s no one better.’”

Leading off the Maryville sixth, Rines singled her way aboard, setting the stage for Arnold’s winning blast to right center a batter later.

“I focused on my breathing and my teammates cheering for me,” Rines said. “It was just my girls. They kept me up.”

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