CANTON — In front of friends, family and classmates, Cherokee’s senior night game against Roswell couldn’t have gone much better.
The Lady Warriors beat Roswell 10-0 in five innings last Tuesday night and carried momentum over from the previous week. After taking one game from Lassiter and sweeping Etowah in a doubleheader, Cherokee returned home and made quick work of Roswell, taking the season series 2-1.
The wins improved Cherokee to 13-7 overall and 9-3 in Region 4AAAAAAA, and it kept the Lady Warriors tied atop the region with Lassiter.
“I definitely thought it was going to be a seven-inning game tonight, considering our history with (Roswell),” Cherokee senior Hope Jiles said. “Last week was a huge week for us, and I think it really gave us the confidence to go far in the postseason and, hopefully, to Columbus (for the state finals). It was great to come out and get this win on senior night in front our our families.”
An eight-run burst in the second inning blew the game open for Cherokee, which outhit Roswell 13-2 in the shortened game.
Parker Modica’s two-run home run scored Jordyn Stanfill and began the scoring as the Lady Warriors batted around until Modica’s pop up in her second at-bat of the inning ended the frame.
Modica said the momentum carried from last week gave the team an added boost.
“Everybody had the adrenaline running last week, and it was cool to watch everyone compete against a couple of the better teams in our region,” said Modica, a junior. “It was cool to play for our seniors tonight, especially because I’m super close with a few of them. It was great to win this one for them tonight.”
Five of the six seniors finished Tuesday night’s game with multiple hits. Jiles was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Stanfill, Gracie Mixson and Ashlyn Mickler each finished with two hits and one RBI. Rebekah Bledsoe was 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
Junior Emma Worley picked up the win while striking out three.
The seniors were honored after the game with a ceremony that saw each introduced from center field, each accompanied by family on the walk into the infield. The underclassmen lined the outfield grass as the six seniors were honored.
Longtime Cherokee coach Tonya Carlisle said she became a little emotional as the players walked up to be recognized.
“We were looking out at them in center field before they walked in, and they’re one of the best senior classes we’ve had,” Carlisle said. “Not just because of how talented they are, but because they’ve all bought into the program. Everybody seems to follow them, and they don’t have to do anything to get that to happen. They’re truly like sisters, and it’s going to be hard letting them go.”
After beginning the season 6-6, Cherokee has won seven of its last eight, including five in a row. This Lady Warriors’ current seniors have never advanced past the second round of the state playoffs, and Jiles said making it Columbus has been the goal all season.
As the the team batted around in the second inning Tuesday, the players waiting for their turn to bat stood in a line three-deep following each at-bat. It seemed as though the next batter could not wait for her turn at the plate, and Carlisle said it is like that every game.
“The person deep in the hole, the person in the hole and the person on deck are actually working, trying to get the timing down on pitchers. That’s just part of our process,” Carlisle said. “But, yeah, we got three big wins last week and the kids understand, if they win out, they’re going to win a region championship. The ball is finally starting to roll our way, and any time you talk about things like being in the hunt for a championship, you’ve got to have that.”