|Lady Cats start district softball season on a high note|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 23, 2005 - PARIS - Extra base hits make things a little easier.
The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats proved that Tuesday night, with their three extra-base hits figuring predominantly in a 5-2, district-opening win over Paris.
SSHS (10-6-2 overall) joined North Lamar (13-8) and Texas High (16-2) atop the 12-4A standings after the first game. The Lady Cats travel to Mount Pleasant on Thursday for a 7 p.m. game.
Against Paris, SSHS junior Hailey Watson threw a complete-game two-hitter and was backed up by six hits from her teammates. The Lady Cats also used five Paris errors, three wild pitches and a pair of passed balls to help them in plating their runs.
"I told the girls that we can still play better, but it's very important to get that first district win, especially on the road," said SSHS head coach John McCullough. "We had some success driving the ball, and if those early batters can get doubles and triples, then there are things you can do to get them home."
Senior Ne-Ne Hynson scored three times for the Lady Cats, while classmates Casey Carper and Tanna Lampp had a pair of hits apiece.
Carper opened the game for Sulphur Springs by slapping a two-strike triple to the left field gap and Hynson followed with a full-count walk - the only free pass given up by Paris starter Ashley Zachary.
On an attempted steal of second by Hynson, the pitch got by Paris catcher Taylor Gates, allowing Carper to score and Hynson to get to third. She then scored on Watson' sacrifice fly to left, giving SSHS a 2-0 lead in the the first inning.
"I think those two runs allowed us to relax a little bit and take a little pressure off us," McCullough said. "Then, we came back and got a couple more runs."
Sulphur Springs added single runs in the third and fourth innings. With one out in the third, Hynson reached on an infield error, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Watson's ground ball. In the fourth, senior outfielder Betsy Blount doubled into the left field alley and scored on Lampp's RBI single to left to put the Lady Cats up, 4-0.
Paris got two runs back in the fourth when a pair of errors put two runners on base and Kaitlyn Morrone drove them both home with a double to the right field gap.
But, in the fifth, Hynson laced a full-count triple off the left fielder's glove and scored on a passed ball to make the score 5-2.
Following Paris' two runs, Watson allowed just one baserunner over the final three-plus innings. She sat down 10 of the last 11 batters, with Stefanie Barnett's lead-off single in the seventh the only Paris batter to reach safely.
"Hailey did a good job. She only gave up two hits and didn't walk anybody, which is very important," McCullough said. "She didn't allow anyone to get on base for them to have opportunities.
A frigid north wind blew throughout the game, dropping the wind chill factor to below freezing. While the wind appeared to give Paris fielders some problems, the Lady Cats fielded eight fly balls or pop-ups without incident.
Freshman second baseman Amanda McGowin fielded five ground ball chances without an error, while Kristen McDonald ran down a pair of fly balls in center field.
SSHS Gold 11, Paris 1
SSHS sophomore Tarra Morton pitched a three-hitter, while Marci Womack, Brandi Laine, Jordan Godwin and Morton all had multi-hit games in the district opener.
Womack had three hits, including a double and scored three runs, while Laine and Morton had two hits, two runs and two RBI apiece. Godwin also had two hits, including a double, and two RBI.
Also hitting safely for the SSHS Gold were KayLee Cotten and Kelsey Evans, each with a hit, walk and two RBI, and Kara Lopez with a hit and walk and run scored. Jordan Anderson added two walks and Kaytlin Black reached on a walk.
Morton pitched the complete, five-inning game, giving up three hits, two walks and fanning two.
SSHS Blue 5, All-Saints 0
Brittani Dillard allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out six in pitching the complete-game shutout Tuesday at Lady Cat Park.
Jenna Davis led the Lady Cats at the plate with a triple, while Elise Rascoe, Jennifer Mitchell, Kara Rogers and Lauren Buck each added a single. Sulphur Springs was successful on four delayed steals, and a suicide steal by Rogers.