Defense leads the way in Lady Cats' win
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

March 12, 2004 -- MOUNT PLEASANT -- The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats' success is built upon pitching and defense, and they showed it Tuesday night.

Several outstanding defensive plays late in the game staved off a Mount Pleasant rally in the Lady Cats' 3-1 victory, improving their record to 10-3-1.

The biggest play came with two outs in the bottom of the sixth with Lady Tigers on second and third. MP's Kendra Banks hit a hard grounder up the middle, but SSHS second baseman Casey Carper made a backhand stop, turned and threw the runner out at first by a stride to end the inning.

"That was a great play. That pretty much saved the game right there because there's two outs and they're running on contact," SSHS head coach John McCullough said. "If that ball gets to the outfield, more than likely they've got a chance to tie the game.

"That was the defensive play of the game right there."

Carper's save overshadowed another couple of outstanding plays. Senior shortstop Savana Gibby cleanly fielded a slow roller to open the sixth inning or Mount Pleasant may have been able to manufacture more than their one unearned run. Then, to start the seventh, first baseman Hollie Watson scooped a short hop throw to keep MP from building momentum.

"All of those were big," McCullough said. "We work on defense because it can win games for you."

Senior pitcher Melissa McSheffery (5-2) went the distance, giving up five hits and striking out seven without a walk. She sat down 12 straight Lady Tigers in the second through fifth innings before giving up an unearned run in the sixth.

The Lady Cats put together a two-run second inning and added an insurance run in the sixth. Watson had two RBIs with a single and a sacrifice fly. Senior Whitney Gideon had three of Sulphur Springs' seven hits with two stolen bases, though she didn't figure in the scoring.

Courtney Aguilar led off the Sulphur Springs second inning with a hard single off the third baseman's glove. Krissy Cotten, running for Aguilar, stole second and scored on Watson's single up the middle off MP starter Laura Rawlings. Watson then came around on an infield error.

In the Lady Cats' half of the sixth, McSheffery drilled a liner into left field. Lacey Temples came on to run for her and went to second on an error, to third on Aguilar's fly ball to right, and then avoided a tag at home plate on Watson's sacrifice fly down the right field line to put the Lady Cats up, 3-0.

That was all the offensive support that McSheffery needed because the defense was there to back her up the rest of the way.

Notes: The Lady Cats will host Hallsville at 5 p.m. in a varsity-only match-up Friday. It is only the second home game of the year for Sulphur Springs. ...Fourteen of McSheffery's 21 outs were either ground ball outs or strikeouts.

SSHS JV 6, Mount Pleasant 1

Tanna Lampp and Hailey Watson combined on a two-hitter and Sulphur Springs stroked 11 hits in the victory Tuesday.

Lampp (3-0) threw hitless ball for three innings, striking out two, and Watson gave up an unearned run in two innings.

Watson also had two hits, including a double, and an RBI. Brandi Laine added two hits, while Kaneisha Johnson had a triple.

Johnson's triple came in the second inning, and she scored when the pitcher failed to catch a throw back from the catcher for a1-0 lead. The Lady Cats made it 2-0 in the third as Terra Jackson led off with a bunt single, stole second and scored on Laine's single to center.

In the fourth, Lampp got on with a two-out infield single. Whitney Rogers ran for her, stealing second and scoring on Ne-Ne Hynson's double to left center.

Sulphur Springs (6-0-1) scored three more runs in the fifth on a Tara Gibby walk, Watson's double over the left fielder's head, an infield single by Kayla Caldwell, Christina Patchen's single and score on a throwing error.

Mount Pleasant scored its run in the fifth on three SSHS errors.

Defensively, coach Eric Buck commended the play of Gibby, who had five assists and two put-outs at shortstop, Watson, who had five put-outs at first base, and Hynson, who stopped a bad-hop grounder that got past the first baseman and beat the runner to first for the out.

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