Streak is over:
Lady Cats fail to McKinney North
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 3, 2004 -- McKINNEY -- The streak is over. So, at least partially, is the pressure.

McKinney North used some timely hitting to take a 5-2 victory over the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats' Friday night, ending their district unbeaten streak at 33 games and putting an end to the SSHS seniors' goal of going 40-0.

Though he obviously didn't want the streak to end, SSHS head coach John McCullough acknowledged it may help loosen up the Lady Cats, who were putting a lot of pressure on themselves to keep it alive.

"I think it will probably take some pressure off them. They can just come out and play and not worry about the 40-0 thing," McCullough said. "That was obviously a goal, to go their entire high school career without losing a district game, but we still got a long way to go.

"We've still got to refocus and go game-by-game, and they still have to come to our place. We can tie it up, but that's way down the road."

The loss moves McKinney North to 4-0 in 11-4A play, while Sulphur Springs is now 3-1, 17-6-1 overall.

Both teams had nine hits in the game, but McKinney North strung four of them together in the fourth inning off SSHS starter Melissa McSheffery to take a 2-0 lead, then had a pair of extra base hits in the fifth to score two more runs. In the sixth, they used two hits and an error to push across their final run.

Sulphur Springs committed two errors, both of which figured in the scoring, and made a couple of other miscues in the field that gave up additional bases. McNorth committed just one error and it did not effect the scoring.

The Lady Cats didn't bunch their hits as opportunistically as did McKinney North, stranding 11 runners. They put baserunners on in every inning but the first off McKinney North starter Becky Nye, who walked four. Both pitchers struck out eight.

Kristen Cross, Savana Gibby and Casey Carper each had a pair of hits for the Lady Cats, and Courtney Aguilar had the team's lone extra-base hit, a run-scoring double in the sixth. Gibby reached base three times with a walk and two singles, one of which drove in Sulphur Springs' first run of the game.

"The ladies did a great job of battling tonight," McCullough said. "At no point did they ever quit or get down on themselves. They got after it the whole game.

"Both teams had nine hits. They just happened to put theirs together a little bit better than we did. We had some opportunities but just couldn't get the big hit."

McKinney North struck first, though McSheffery breezed through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners. But, in the fourth, McKinney North strung together four straight one-out hits including an RBI single by Megan Lackie which scored Krysten Shelton, who had tripled. The Lady Bulldogs scored again on Kim Wyatt's bloop single down the right field line and subsequent SSHS error.

The Lady Cats answered back with a run in the fifth, after Carper singled sharply to left and Cross pushed a bunt through the charging infield for a single. McKinney North then got the benefit of a dubious call that short-circuited the SSHS rally.

Whitney Gideon laid a bunt down the third-base line, which the third baseman fielded and hesitated before throwing to the shortstop covering third. In that hesitation, it appeared to the Lady Cat faithful that Carper had slid in to the bag ahead of the throw, but the umpire saw it otherwise. Instead of the bases loaded and no outs, the Lady Cats had two on and one out.

They scored, though, when Gibby dropped a single into center field with two outs to cut the deficit to 2-1.

McKinney North struck back in the bottom of the fifth when Nye doubled and scored on Lackie's triple to right. Lackie scored on an ill-advised throw to the wrong base.

Still, the Lady Cats battled back with another run in the sixth. Hollie Watson walked and scored when Aguilar lined a double into the left field corner. Aguilar was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple, and the Lady Cats subsequently left two runners on base.

In the seventh, Sulphur Springs brought the tying run to the plate after Gibby singled up the middle and Crystal Smitherman walked with one out, but Nye got the final two outs of the game.

"We've got six more district games to go and we have to take them one at a time," McCullough said. "Hopefully, when it's over, we'll both be 9-1 and we'll have a shot to play them a third time to settle it. Right now, we've got to refocus and get ready for Paris on Tuesday."

SSHS JV 19, McKinney North 1

Kaneisha Johnson had a pair of doubles and five RBIs, Hailey Watson had two hits and scored twice, and Tara Gibby scored twice and drove in two runs for the Lady Cats, who put up 19 runs in just three innings.

Christina Patchen added an RBI triple and scored twice, Kaitlyn Black doubled and drove in two runs, while Terra Jackson and Ne Ne Hynson combined to walk five times and score five runs.

Brandi Laine added a hit and RBI, Betsy Blount walked twice and singled, Tanna Lampp scored two runs, Chelsea Stovall walked and scored, Whitney Rogers singled and drove in a run, while Susan Dorn and Nichole Fender each walked and scored.

On the mound, Lampp threw two innings of no-hit ball, while Watson pitched one inning, giving up one hit and striking out the side.

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