|Lady Cats softball wins three games at Arlington Spring Break Classic|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 17, 2005 - NORTH RICHLAND HILLS - Ne-Ne Hynson's two-run, two-out, two-strike, game-winning single on Wednesday capped "a perfect day" for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats, who swept through their pool group unbeaten in the Arlington Spring Break Classic.
The Lady Cats finished the day beating Keller Fossil Ridge, 3-2, by scoring three runs in the last inning. Before that, they used pitching and defense to get by Little Elm, 1-0, and Irving MacArthur, 7-0.
"That's how you'd like to draw it up. It was a perfect day," said SSHS head coach John McCullough. "We cut down on our strikeouts. We did a lot better job on defense. Hopefully, we can carry through to Thursday and Saturday, and that will have us ready for district next week."
The Lady Cats will finish up the tournament in Gold Bracket play beginning at 5 p.m. today against Mesquite Poteet. The winner plays at 11:20 a.m. Saturday, while the loser plays at 10 a.m. Saturday. All games are at Walker's Creek Park in North Richland Hills.
By "perfect," McCullough wasn't referring to the weather, with temperatures in the mid-40s, an overcast sky and a howling north wind.
The pool games were limited to four innings, so they don't count in the win-loss record, but McCullough was more concerned with how the Lady Cats (9-6) played.
"I'm proud of them - they did a great job," he said. "The first two games we relied on our pitching and defense, and the last game we did something we haven't done all year - come-from-behind to win."
SSHS 3, Fossil Ridge 2
The game was scoreless until the fourth and final inning, when a Sulphur Springs throwing error opened the door to a pair of Fossil Ridge runs. Freshman pitcher Marci Womack got out of the inning by striking out two of the final three batters she faced.
That set up the Lady Cats' finish in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Womack worked a full-count walk and senior Betsy Blount hit a long single to the left field gap. After a walk to Susan Dorn loaded the bases, sophomore Kristen McDonald laced an single back up the middle to cut the Fossil Ridge lead to 2-1.
After Casey Carper reached on a fielder's choice, Hynson drilled a game-winning single to left, scoring Dorn and McDonald.
"The lower part of the order got us going, and we were able to get the bases loaded and keep things going," McCullough said. "Ne-Ne Hynson comes through in a pressure situation - bottom of the last inning, two outs with the bases loaded. Ne-Ne stepped up and did that for us. The girls in front of her did a great job of putting the ball in play and taking pitches to get the walks."
Carper reached both twice on a single and a walk, and Brittany Moore had a pair of walks. Each of them stole a base.
Womack picked up the win, giving up three hits and one walk while striking out six.
SSHS 7, MacArthur 0
Lady Cat senior Tanna Lampp struck out seven MacArthur batters, and Sulphur Springs pulled off a double play with the bases loaded in the third to preserve the shutout.
The squads played just three innings due to the one-hour time limit, but that was enough time for Sulphur Springs to send 20 batters to the plate.
Carper, who reached base safely seven of her eight plate appearances in the tournament, singled to lead off the first, stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Moore worked a one-out walk and Hailey Watson followed with a bunt single before Stephanie Kethley lined a two-run double to the left field gap to give SSHS a 3-0 first-inning lead.
They scored their final four runs in the third when Moore led off with a shot just inside the left field line and Kaneisha Johnson brought her home with a perfectly executed squeeze. Kethley reached on an infield single and Christina Patchen walked to load the bases, then McDonald cleared the bases with a three-run triple to the left field gap.
Lampp worked all three innings on the mound, giving up five hits and getting the first seven outs on strikeouts. The final two outs came on a double play when Johnson caught a line drive in right field with the bases loaded and doubled the runner off second.
SSHS 1, Little Elm 0
Casey Carper provided the only run of the game after she singled to lead off the third inning, was sacrificed to second by Hynson, stole third and came home when the catcher's throw went into the outfield.
Moore and Lampp had the Lady Cats' two other hits. Carper also reached on a walk. She had four bases-on-balls in three games.
Watson got the win on the mound as she threw four shutout innings, giving up just one infield single. She struck out six, including the final out of the game with runners on second and third.