She finally made contact on one of those pitches Thursday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Blanchard blasted a two-run homer to left field off the Alexandria bus in the bottom of the second inning to help lift the No. 10 Lady Warriors to a 6-2 victory over the second-ranked Valley Cubs.
Thursday’s game was the first outing in 12 days for the Lady Warriors (7-0), but Blanchard made sure Cherokee County’s bats weren’t going to be cold. They finished with eight hits off of Alexandria pitcher Erin Patterson.
On her home run, Blanchard said "It was high, and I just like high pitches."
"It felt good," she said. "We just came out ready to play. We hadn’t played in about two weeks, so it just felt good to get back out here and hit."
Cherokee County head coach Travis Barnes said he was unsure of how the Lady Warriors would handle a team as good Alexandria. Barnes got his answer, and he was extremely pleased.
"A lot of the teams we’ve played up until now are not the caliber of Alexandria," Barnes said. "If you can hold Alexandria to two runs, you’ve done something."
Speaking of doing something, the Lady Cubs (5-3) ended Cherokee County’s streak of holding their opponents scoreless at 37 2/3 innings. Alexandria plated a pair of runs on Patterson’s single to right center with two out and the bases loaded.
Cherokee County pitcher Lauren Millsaps rebounded to get Haley Henry to pop out at second to end the inning, with the Lady Warriors in front by four runs.
Millsaps gave up only four hits and a walk in earning the win. She also had nine strikeouts.
Although the scoreless streak is now over, Millsaps said she was glad it came against a team like Alexandria.
Barnes said he’s glad to have it over with, period.
"It was 6-0, and they kind of got a sad look when I told them (the infielders) to get back. They wanted to stay in to get the out at home, but it’s kind of a monkey off your back. We’ve got that scoreless streak over now, so hopefully it’s not in the back of their minds now and they can just play ball," Barnes said.
After Cayla Machleit walked with one out in the bottom of the second, Blanchard’s blast put Cherokee County in front 2-0. The Lady Warriors added another pair of runs in the third off a run-scoring single by Machleit that plated Malorie Rosser and a sharply hit ball by Blanchard that plated Kaitlyn Griffith. Those runs increased Cherokee County’s lead to 4-0.
But the Lady Warriors weren’t done. They tacked on two more runs in the fourth thanks to Rosser’s grounder to first that plated Deidra Davis and Griffith’s RBI-double to left that pushed Millsaps across, making it 6-0.
Griffith led the Lady Warriors at the plate by going 2 for 3. Blanchard and Millsaps were both 1 for 3, with Blanchard driving in three runs.
"We just came out hungry," Millsaps said. "We were ready to hit the ball and we were ready to play. We practiced hard all week just to be ready for this. I think we were tired of just practicing. We were just ready to get on the field."
Alexandria finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth thanks to Patterson’s single to right with the bases loaded, but that was all the Lady Cubs could muster off Millsaps.
Patterson led the Lady Cubs at the plate by going 2 for 3. She also suffered the loss after giving up all six Lady Warrior runs on six hits with five walks and a pair of strikeouts.