Rutherford shines in Lady Cougars’ 10-0 win

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By Robby O'Daniel

On the strength of a brilliant pitching performance from Brenna Rutherford, the Lady Cougars took care of business, defeating Cumberland Gap 10-0 last Thursday at home to start the season 2-0.

“We went into this game with a lot of confidence after our big win Tuesday night [against Oak Ridge], and I think we were all just ready to get another one under our belts,” Brenna Rutherford said. “And we were all just really confident, and we knew that, going into this, if we had each other’s back, we could do it. So it was a lot of fun.”

Freshman Brenna Rutherford’s pitching line was excellent: six innings pitched, eight strikeouts, no walks and just five hits.

“I think everyone played well,” Brenna Rutherford said. “We all were just backing each other up and knew we just had to be there for each other because you can’t play with just one person on the field. It has to be the whole team, a group effort.”

The Lady Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the second inning when senior shortstop Carlie Baldwin dumped a pitch into shallow centerfield for an RBI single. Later with the bases loaded, Bailey Rutherford walked to bring home a run to make it 2-0 Lady Cougars.

“I’m proud of the girls,” CCHS head coach Rebecca Mongar said. “I’m excited for the girls. I think this team has a good chance this year to do some big things and getting two under our belt early, I think, is definitely a positive for us and gives us a little confidence that we need to start this season off on the right foot.”

Brenna Rutherford worked around trouble in the fourth. The inning started with a Cumberland Gap double and then a single, but the lead runner was out at third. Brenna Rutherford finished off the inning coaxing a groundout to Baldwin and then striking out the next batter.

In the fifth, with the Lady Cougars now leading 5-0, Cumberland Gap started the inning with two singles: one to right field and one to left field. But Brenna Rutherford sat down the next three batters: two strikeouts and another groundout to Baldwin.

Even in the sixth, when the possible third out ended up reaching base on an error, Brenna Rutherford was nonchalant, striking out the next batter to end the inning.

“She does make a difference out here,” Mongar said on Brenna Rutherford. “She gives us a leg up. She works hard out there, and we’ve got to make sure we’re working hard for her in the field. But again, the girls, the overall attitude of the team as a whole is very positive, and that’s very encouraging. And again, just the momentum that she brings to it has already made a difference. And we’re just excited, like I said, to see what happens this season and where we can go.”

A Bailey Rutherford walk and Taylor Shanks double started the bottom of the sixth inning, in which the Lady Cougars scored five runs and ended the game via run-rule.

Bailey McCullah would have an RBI single, and then Bailey Rutherford would bookend the inning by ending it with an RBI single of her own.

The Lady Cougars host Clinton today (Thursday). First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. Then it’s the annual game against Scott at Carson-Newman University on Saturday.