Lady Cats lose to Forney
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

March 9, 2005 - FORNEY - Four is turning out to be a very unlucky number for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats.

The Lady Cats committed four errors again Tuesday, leading to a 3-2 extra-inning loss to the Forney Lady Rabbits.

SSHS (8-6) has committed four errors in four games this year and lost three of them.

The only earned run Forney (8-1) scored was the game-winner with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. McCullough said the game never should have lasted that long.

"We should have won the game,1-0. Hailey Watson does a great job and pitches a great game and they score two unearned runs," he explained. "We find a way to score by putting two runs on the board in the fourth inning, and if we do our job defensively, those two runs hold up. We've got to find a way to be consistent defensively, and we've got to find a way to put the ball in play."

Hailey went the distance on the mound, giving up just one earned run in 8 2/3 innings. She allowed six hits, walked two and struck out two.

She also helped herself at the plate with a thundering RBI double off the left field wall in the fourth inning that drove in Ne-Ne Hynson, who reached on an infield single. Watson's double also moved Brittney Moore, who was hit by a pitch, to third base and she scored on Stephanie Kethley grounder past the third baseman.

That gave Sulphur Springs a 2-0 lead, but Forney chipped away with single, unearned runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

The sixth inning run, which tied the game, was the most difficult to swallow. A week after the UIL urged SSHS fans to be kind to officials, it was an umpire's call that set the table for the Lady Cats' loss.

With one out and a runner on first in the sixth, Forney's Kate Bell hit a sharp grounder to Casey Carper at second. Carper fielded it cleanly and flipped the ball to shortstop Tara Gibby, who touched second for what appeared to be a force out and threw on to first, though the throw went wide. The umpire, though, ruled Gibby was not on the base, and that put runners on second and third. Forney tied the game with a fielder's choice on the next pitch.

That was one of the reasons that Watson now has a pitching record of 3-3 though she has allowed just three earned runs this season.

At the plate, Hynson went 2-for-4, and Carper reached base three times on a single, walk and hit-by-pitch. Kethley had a single in the sixth and Kaneisha Johnson singled in the third, but the Lady Cats overall didn't hit well with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-6. They stranded seven runners, including four of them on either second or third base.

Forney pitcher Britney Benedict struck out 13 Lady Cat batters while surrendering six hits and two walks.

"We're going to work on the defensive aspect and just do what we can to put the ball in play and try to push through this," McCullough said. "We're close. The last six games we've played some great competition. Forney has a great record, and we're close to them.

"But, like I told the girls, we've got to push past 'close.' We've got to find a way to push through and try to take that next step and find a way to win these close games."

The Lady Cats return to action at 4 p.m. Friday at Sherman against the Lady Bearcats.

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