Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High head softball coach John Conditt congratulates senior Allyson Shoulders after Shoulders hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the third inning.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High head softball coach John Conditt congratulates senior Allyson Shoulders after Shoulders hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the third inning.

The Macon County High School softball team didn't panic.

However, there was concern after an early four-run lead abruptly turned into a four-run deficit against visiting Watertown.

Senior Allyson Shoulders responded though with a solo home run, and the Tigerettes dominated play the rest of the way in a 16-10 victory over the visiting Purple Tigers on April 30.

With the win, Macon County secured its first regular-season district title in more than 10 years.

"It's awesome," Shoulders said "It's something everyone wants every year. As a senior, it makes it that much better.

"It's the first time for the school (since 2008). That makes it even bigger."

Shoulders -- the starting pitcher -- struggled with her control early on and was relieved by junior Raini Gerometta in the second inning, after surrendering one hit and four walks. However, Shoulders returned in the third inning and allowed just two hits and three walks over the final 41/3 innings.

"I knew when I came off, (head coach John Conditt) told me to keep myself ready," Shoulders said. "I had to keep my mindset right. When I came back on the mound, I had to work."

Watertown erupted for four runs in the second inning and four more in the third to take an 8-4 lead.

Shoulders returned with a runner at third base and ended the top of the third by getting a groundout.

Then, she led off the bottom of the frame with her third home run of the season.

That was the first of the Tigerettes' 14 hits over their final four turns at-bat.

"It shows that we've been hitting for a long time," Shoulders said. "Now, we have some games under our belt, and it shows. We have bats throughout the lineup."

Eight different Macon County players had hits, with six of those producing multiple hits.

"Makenzie Stafford is hitting the ball extremely well," Conditt said. "Olivia (Belton) showed what she can do. She blossomed into the player I knew she could be tonight. She made some great catches (in centerfield) tonight. Madilyn (Goodall) has been playing in the zone the last few weeks. Myle (Crowder) has been running the bases extremely well and laid down some great bunts for us last week.

"This team can score. Any time we play anybody, we're going to score 6-8 runs a game. We hit ... we hit, and we hit. We might not be good at some things, but we hit the ball."

Tigerette junior catcher Morgan Carter hit a two-run home run in the four-run first inning, and more home runs were forthcoming.

Shoulders -- a Cumberland University signee -- also doubled in a first-inning run.

Then, after Shoulders homered to lead off the third, Belton singled and eventually scored on a groundout off of the bat of junior Morgan Spivey.

Carter led off the four-run fourth inning with a home run, and senior Rachel Ritchie came through with a two-out single to drive in pinch runner Allie Warner with the tying run.

Gerometta followed with a double off of the fence in left-centerfield, driving in Belton and Ritchie to place her squad in front to stay at 10-8.

Abby Shoulders led off the bottom of the fifth with a bloop single to rightfield, and she circled the bases on the play thanks to a misplay in rightfield and then a throwing error.

Carter followed with her third home run of the game, extending the lead to 12-8.

It was Carter's first three-home-run game. She increased her season total to 19.

"It's just another home run," Carter said. "All I want is line drives. If they go over, it's just a bonus."

Emma Edwards singled in two runs in the top of the sixth, but Macon County responded by adding four runs in the bottom of the frame.

Stafford doubled down the leftfield line to drive in Belton and Ritchie, and Abby Shoulders singled to drive in Stafford.

Jenkins followed with another single to drive in Abby Shoulders with the game's final run.

Carter had another at-bat in the sixth inning, but her fly ball to deep rightfield was caught.

"It's hard not to think about," Carter said of the prospect of hitting a fourth home run. "It was just important to score Abby (from first base). We needed to score that run."

In addition to Carter, four other players -- Belton, Ritchie, Abby Shoulders and Allyson Shoulders -- also had three hits, and Jenkins provided two hits. Like Carter, both Belton and Shoulders crossed the plate three times.

"I have full confidence in all our players," Carter said.

The two teams played in Watertown on April 17, with Macon County claiming a 12-7 victory. Jada Moss hit two home runs for the Purple Tigers in that contest, but she was unable to play in the rematch due to a leg injury.

"They're kind of that underestimated team," Allyson Shoulders said. "They're definitely a team you need to take serious. They're a good ball team, and they had a really good player sitting out tonight."

The Tigerettes earned the top seed in the 8-AA Tournament with the win.

"It feels good," Carter said. "I'm glad to accomplish it."

Conditt added, "They're learning their role. Everybody knows their role, and they are good with it. We talk to each other a lot, and there's some sharp kids on this team. They've done everything we've asked them to do. Now, they see the whole picture."