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Raines leads Lady Commodores past Pensacola

Tyler Waldrep

For the first time since undergoing surgery on her shoulder last May, Gulf Coast sophomore Kaylee Raines felt confident with her swing on Monday night.

“I felt like every time I went up to the plate I was going to produce for my team,” Raines said.

She almost did just that as Gulf Coast claimed 4-1 and 6-0 victories in Monday night’s doubleheader sweep over Pensacola State (21-13, 1-5 Panhandle Conference).

In six plate appearances, Raines hit for two doubles, reached first twice more and scored as she helped the Lady Commodores (28-10, 5-3) wrap up the first week of conference play with wins.

She also finished with a team-high three RBI across both games, a total matched only by freshman Dixie Guesnard.

“My first hit just felt like, ‘wow I’m getting back there,’” Raines said. “Like I’m getting back there for my team.”

It wasn’t only the offense that showed out at home on Monday, as the defense did its part as well. Gulf Coast coach Beth Wade said she was especially proud of her team’s performances as of late considering lead-off hitter and starting centerfielder Sam Sisco missed the first week of conference games due to illness.

It was Raines who filled her spot in the batting order Monday, while Hayden Lindsay occupied centerfield in Sisco’s absence.

“We’ve had kids step up,” Wade said. “We’ve had people playing out of position a little bit and they’ve fought through the first round ... hopefully we can kind of get get even more on track.”

Gulf Coast pitcher Hannah Poole wasn’t quite satisfied with her performance inside the cirlce across almost eight innings of action on Monday. Still, she managed to strike out 10 batters, so it was hardly a bad outing.

“My timing was just a little bit off tonight,” Poole said. “I was throwing a little bit shorter than I normally do. I mean it worked, so I was still spinning it, so they were having a tough time spinning it.”

Pensacola State’s lone run of the day occurred in the fifth inning of the first game when Kat McGlamry scored on a wild pitch shortly after Poole relieved starting pitcher Brittany Crowson.

“I thought it was time in game one to make a move, give them a little bit different look,” Wade said. “They had two runners on with no outs. So we made the move to go to Hannah and she came in and shut the door like she’s done a couple of other times for us.”

Wade went back to Crowson to close out the second game when Poole seemed to run out of gas after the fifth inning of the second game. In her last two innings of work Crowson struck out two batters and limited Pensacola State to two hits.

After playing eight games in the last seven days, Gulf Coast will enjoy a bit of a breather before returning to action March 25 when the team hits the road for a doubleheader against Tallahasssee.

“Really with us playing back-to-back-to-back it’s just trying to keep kids healthy and arms healthy,” Wade said. “You start to get some nagging injuries. Now we have a week off, so hopefully we can kind of get healthy.”

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