The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

July 15, 2014

Hopkins delivers regional title for No. 5 EBF

COLFAX — For most of the season, Tasha Alexander and Nataliah Hopkins have found their names next to each other in the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont batting order. As is often the case, Alexander and Hopkins will be out together waiting to hit and planning a strategy for their attack at the plate.

“Usually, the conversation is Nataliah telling me to try and hit one out,” Alexander said. “But, she always tells me that if I don’t get it out, try to at least get on and she’ll bring me in.”

Alexander has earned the respect of being the hitter in the Rocket lineup most pitchers don’t want to deal with. That certainly seemed to be the case on Monday during No. 5 EBF’s 2A, Region 6 title matchup with No. 12 BCLUW as Alexander drew three walks in her four at-bats.

That left it up to Hopkins to live up to her word, so to speak. All she had to do was drive Alexander in on Monday.

Hopkins did that, and then some, with a pair of towering home runs in the first three innings. The long balls completely changed what appeared on paper to be a very even battle for a state tournament berth.

Instead, Hopkins made her two homers and five runs driven in more than hold up in the pitching circle. Over seven innings, Hopkins allowed just two runs on seven hits while striking out seven as the Rockets rolled to a 10-2 victory that turned EBF’s run to state into more of a victory march on Monday.

“I was never expecting to go up there to hit a home run. I just wanted to bring in a run with a single,” Hopkins said of her very first at-bat Monday, which turned into a three-run homer that sailed well over the 210 feet needed to clear the fence in center field. “I knew it was over when I hit it.”

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