|McSheffery keeps SSHS softball on hot streak|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 5, 2004 -- FRISCO -- On a cold and windy night mixed with intermittent rain, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats could have gathered around the right arm of Melissa McSheffery to keep warm. She was on fire.
McSheffery picked up her fourth win of the season by pitching the Lady Cats past Frisco, 2-0, on a field that had not been kind to Sulphur Springs in recent years.
"We haven't scored there in three years," said SSHS coach John McCullough. "Melissa did a great job of keeping them off the scoreboard. Her screwball was really working. It was running up and in some, so it was moving on two planes. That made it very difficult, then she was doing a great job of spotting her change-up."
Backed up by two hits apiece from seniors Kristen Cross and Courtney Aguilar, McSheffery blew the ball by the Lady Raccoons early, then pitched out of potential trouble the last two innings to keep the Lady Cats unbeaten with an 8-0-1 record.
Frisco put two runners on with no outs in the bottom of the sixth by virtue of an infield hit and an error, but McSheffery sandwiched a comebacker to the mound around a pair of strikeouts.
An inning later, Frisco had the tying runs on base with one out, but McSheffery struck out a batter with a change-up, then induced a ground ball out to second baseman Casey Carper to end the game.
McSheffery gave up just four hits and struck out eight in going the distance against a team that won the Lewisville tournament last week and were state champions in 2002.
"It seems like I used my change-up more toward the end of the game because they were getting more out on their front foot. They were falling for it, so I went with what worked," she explained. "The screwball was working really well. The screwball and change-up were probably working the best, because I'd go in and then go with a change, and they were having a hard time getting hold of it."
She also got excellent defense behind her, once again.
Senior left fielder Whitney Gideon picked up another assist - the fifth outfield assist of the season -- when she caught a knee-high line drive in the third inning and fired the ball to first to double off Jenny Dean, who had two hits for the Lady Raccoons.
Right fielder Cristie Dixon also made an outstanding, diving catch in the second inning to take away a potential extra base hit. Shortstop Savana Gibby had four assists.
At the plate, the heroes of the game were Cross, who singled to lead off the game and scored on a Frisco throwing error, and Aguilar, whose second-inning single accounted for the Lady Cats' insurance run. Cross' RBI single to right drove in Aguilar's courtesy runner, Krissy Cotten. Aguilar also tripled in the sixth.
"Courtney Aguilar probably hit the ball harder than anybody on the field," McCullough said. "She got two hits and got robbed of another. She's really starting to come around with the bat."
After that, it was all McSheffery.
"You can't say enough about the way she pitched," McCullough said. "She really pitched well late in the game to get out of trouble."