Morton and Dodd combine for 2-1 victories at Frisco tournament
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

March 4, 2006 - McKINNEY - Tarra "Goose" Morton kept putting up goose eggs on the scoreboard Friday afternoon, then her Sulphur Springs teammate Katie Dodd almost out-goosed her in the nightcap.

The result of their outstanding pitching performances was a pair of 2-1 victories in the second day of the Frisco ISD Tournament at The Ballfields at Craig Ranch.

Each pitcher allowed just a single earned run in the first inning, then put zeros up on the scoreboard the rest of the game.

Morton's masterpiece came against Birdville, while Dodd's accomplishment was facing Carrollton R.L. Turner.

"The pitching was great. We started the right pitcher against the right team in the first game, and did the same thing again," said SSHS head coach Tommy Grammer. "R.L. Turner is strong with the bat, and Katie was able to keep them off balance with her heat and being able to change speeds on her pitches.

"Tarra pitched a great game against Birdville and kept us in the game until we could pull it out."

The victories pulled the Lady Cats' tournament record to 2-2 with their final pool game scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday against Frisco. Sulphur Springs' overall record is 4-5.

SSHS 2, Birdville 1 (8 innings)

Birdville got the go-ahead run to second base in each of the last three innings, but Morton kept working her way out of trouble long enough to give her offense time to break the 1-1 tie.

Playing international tie-breaker rules after the regulation seven innings, the Lady Cats won the game in the eighth when courtesy runner Nichole Fender started the inning at second base.

Amanda McGowin reached on an error to put runners on second and third, then freshman Brittani Crawford drove home Fender with an RBI grounder to end the game.

Crawford has scored the Lady Cats; earlier run, when she walked with one out in the bottom of the first and scored on infield error.

It appeared the Lady Cats would break the game open earlier, as Kelsey Evans led off the second inning with a single, but was erased on a caught stealing. Then, in the seventh, Dodd stroked a long double up the left field alley and Brandi Laine walked, but with two outs Morton hit a shot back up the middle which the pitcher got enough leather on to slow it down enough for the second baseman to make a play.

However, Morton kept the Lady Cats in the game as she gave up just four hits while fanning two and walking one in eight innings.

SSHS 2, Carrollton R.L. Turner 1

Dodd struck out 11 batters and gave up seven hits, but it appeared her outing might be cut short.

The fourth batter of the game, Turner's Candis Harris, lined a bullet off of Dodd's lower leg, sending her to ground for several minutes. But, not only did she stay in the game and pitch, she struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.

Dodd also led off the top of the second with a double into the left field gap and scored the team's first run two batters later when Laine fisted an RBI single over the infield.

Sulphur Springs took the lead in the third inning when Amanda McGowin walked to lead-off the frame, went to second on Crawford's sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on Jordan Anderson's single down the left field line.

The way Dodd was pitching, that was all the insurance the Lady Cats needed.

She sat down 13 out of 16 batters in the middle innings and worked out of the only real jams she faced. In the fourth, Turner got back-to-back two-out hits, but Dodd induced an infield pop for the final out. Then, in the final two innings, she got major help from her defense.

After Turner's Kaci Hollingsworth doubled to lead off the sixth, SSHS center fielder Kristen McDonald made a shoestring catch of a fading liner to hold the runner at second.

Then, in the seventh, left fielder Brittani Dillard made a lunging, backhanded catch near the line for the first out. After a single by Turner's Taylor Evans, Dodd struck out Samantha League and SSHS catcher Jordan Anderson threw out Evans trying to steal for a strike-her-out, throw-her-out to end the game.

"We were real fortunate to be able to go with the pitchers the whole way each game. We had good pitching, one error all day - you can't ask for much better than that - they started hitting well," Grammer said. "They're coming around. They're starting to believe in themselves, I think they're having fun, and that is what it's all about."

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