First inning rally pushes Unity past Oakwood

TOLONO - Good things come in threes, especially for Jenna Adkins on Monday during the Rockets' home game against Oakwood.

With a smile on her face, Jenna Adkins heads to home plate after sending a bomb out to right field in the first inning to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead against visiting Oakwood.

Photo: Sentinel/Clark Brooks
Leading off for Unity (3-1) in the bottom of the first inning, Atkins crushed the third pitch, sending it over the right field fence. If it wasn't for the 25 m.p.h.-plus cross wind out of the southeast, the ball could have sailed another 10 yards past the vehicles parked on the other side of the fence.

"It's always a windy day at the Unity HS Softball field! However, last night was so odd," exclaimed Unity head coach Aimee Davis. "When I was hitting ground balls to the infield, the wind even had an influence on those and the direction they went after contact."

She pointed out that "fly balls were hard to read" due to the steady, unrelenting wind. It was amazing there weren't more errors than the one recorded by the Comets in the four-inning affair that ended 14-0 in favor of the Rockets.

"I do not think I have played or coached in a windier game than last night. It was wild," Davis said.

Adkins' homer was just the start. Unity tallied six more runs, the last courtesy of Atkins, whose single put Taylor Drennan across the plate for the final run of the inning.

Gracie Enos throws a pitch during the first innning. Despite throwing 25 strikes out of her 38 pitches, the senior suffered eight runs on eight hits against the Rockets.

Photo: Sentinel/Clark Brooks
"When you can start the game with a leadoff homerun, that sets the tone for the rest of the game," Davis said.

Adkins finished the non-conference game with three hits in her three at-bats and booked three RBIs.

"Jenna had another great at-bat and hit the ball square. We need that from her, and she wants to have good outcomes up to bat," Davis said. "She's followed by solid hitters that get their jobs done."

The Rockets scattered a hit from nine different batters in the lineup. Grace Bickers, Sophia Beckett, and Reese Frye had two RBIs each.

"Our offensive lineup is a good one, and we are starting to see more consistency up and down, which is positive to see as a coach," Davis added. "Defensively, we have a solid pitching staff and an infield and outfield that play great supporting roles."

The Comets (1-3) mustered just three hits courtesy of Karleigh Nelson, Gracie Hanner, and Caydence Vermillion. Oakwood's only opportunity to score came in the top of the third inning, loading the bases with Olivia Fegett on third, Nelson on second, and Gracie Hanner on first.

With two outs already on the board, Gracie Enos popped out to Rockets' Ruby Tarr at shortstop, erasing the threat.

Lindy Bates earned the pitching win. The senior struck out five batters. Meanwhile, Vermillion took the loss for the Comets.

"This team is fun to watch and hungry to see success," Davis said. "They have worked long and hard to reach this point. They are ready to see what this season has to offer."