|Lady Cats lose warm-up game in nine innings|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
April 27, 2005 - The final score wasn't what Sulphur Springs softball coach John McCullough liked, but at least on Tuesday he got playing time for all 16 players on the roster.
With their bi-district contest with Forney looming on Friday, the Lady Cats lost a warm-up game to Mount Vernon, 3-2, in nine innings.
It was obvious from the beginning that the game lacked intensity.
"It's just a game to get everybody a chance to play. That's the great thing about this time of year - it's postseason and you get to keep playing," McCullough said. "Some of the people who haven't gotten to play much got a pretty good bit of playing time.
"This was just a game to keep everyone sharp. We'll focus on Forney on Wednesday and Thursday as we prepare for them."
Fourteen of the Lady Cats received an at-bat, and only four starters remained in the game the last four innings.
Mount Vernon had 11 hits against three SSHS pitchers: junior Hailey Watson, sophomore Tarra Morton and freshman Marci Womack. Sulphur Springs had eight hits.
Womack was the only SSHS player with more than one hit, and it appeared that her sixth-inning double with two outs might break the 2-2 tie, but the ball hit the fence and stayed in the park.
That was the last hit the Lady Cats would get until the bottom of the ninth when Susan Dorn and Amanda McGowin had back-to-back two-out singles, but Casey Carper lined out to center field to end the game.
Mount Vernon pushed across the winning run in the top of the ninth when Womack's first pitch hit Ashley Penny, who scored on Tori Davis' double to center field.
Mount Vernon took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Angela Anderson singled and scored on Penny's single off Watson.
The Lady Cats scored two in the bottom of the fourth. Stephanie Kethley led off the inning with a single to left, and Watson doubled hard to the right field gap to drive in courtesy runner Christina Patchen. Dorn came in as a courtesy runner for Watson. With one out and Dorn at third, Betsy Blount hit a grounder to the third baseman who threw home, and it appeared Dorn was out, but catcher obstruction was called and Dorn was safe.
The Lady Tigers tied the game in the top of the fifth when Kemp doubled to right and scored on a Summerlin's double. Mount Vernon had three doubles in the inning, but SSHS turned a double play on a line drive hit to Womack at first, who doubled Davis off at third.
Watson came out after the fifth, having given up nine hits and two runs while fanning two. Morton came in to toss three scoreless inning, striking out a pair and giving up just one run.
Anderson went the distance for Mount Vernon. She struck out seven and walked none while scattering eight hits.
"You'd like to win, obviously, but a win or a loss isn't that big of a deal because the important one starts Friday," McCullough. "Now, to keep playing we have to win from here on out."
The Lady Cats (17-9-2), District 12-4A runners-up, will travel to McKinney on Friday to take on Forney (23-6-3), the third place team in District 11-4A. Game time is 8 p.m.