|Lady Cats fall to 0-2 in district play|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 22, 2006 - With temperatures dropping to around 40 degrees and a wind chill 10 degrees colder, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats and Mount Pleasant Lady Tigers tried to find ways to stay warm Tuesday night.
Running around the basepaths was not an option.
MP pitcher Laura Rawlings faced just two batters over the minimum and SSHS hurler Marci Womack faced just four past the minimum as Mount Pleasant prevailed, 2-1, at Lady Cat Park.
The loss dropped SSHS to 0-2 in District 12-4A and 6-9-1 overall. Mount Pleasant improved to 2-0, 14-7.
The Lady Cats managed just four hits against Rawlings and had two runners erased on the basepaths. She struck out nine and did not issue a walk.
Womack was just as effective. She allowed just five hits while fanning eight and walking none. One of the runs against her was unearned.
It was the second straight district game that Womack pitched well enough to win, but didn't get the run support. In two district games, she has given up just one earned run in 14 innings, but is 0-2.
"It didn't turn out the way we wanted it, but we played real good defense and had some great pitching," said SSHS head coach Tommy Grammer. "We held them to two runs, but we didn't get the hits when we needed them. We had four hits for the game, and we're going to have to generate more offense than that.
"Early on, we should have hit the ball a little bit better, but we just didn't get it done."
Mount Pleasant took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when lead-off hitter Shanda Aguilar singled and stole second. She eventually scored when an errant pick-off throw went into left field.
"We just didn't get it covered," Grammer said. "That was an unearned run for them and turned out to be the difference in the game. When you have fast runners, you want to keep them close. We just didn't get it done at that moment."
After Aguilar, Womack sat down 11 straight Lady Tigers.
That gave the SSHS offense enough time to tie the game at 1-1 in the third. With two outs in the inning, SSHS senior Tara Gibby broke up Rawlings' no-hitter with an infield single. She stole second and came home on sophomore Kelsey Evans' line drive up the middle.
Evans went 2-for-3, accounting for half of the Lady Cats' hits. She had a two-out single in the sixth, but was stranded.
Mount Pleasant pushed across the go-ahead run in the fourth on three consecutive two-out singles, the final one by Jenna Martin scoring Danise Amador.
The Lady Cats kept the game close with a nicely-executed pick-off of Jalissa Williams at third base to end the inning. Then, with one out in the sixth, SSHS freshman shortstop Brittani Crawford went in front of second to field a bloop, and classmate Katie Dodd made a nice stretch to keep her foot on the base to get the runner at first.
Third baseman Brandi Laine also fielded a pair of bunts cleanly and threw out runners.
The Lady Cats had a final chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh when Amanda McGowin singled sharply to right field to lead off the inning. But, she was erased in a double play. Mount Pleasant did not make an error.
With a pair of one-run losses on their ledger, the Lady Cats travel to Greenville on Friday for a 7 p.m. contest. The Lady Lions (4-9-1, 0-2), likewise, are looking for their first 12-4A victory.
"Naturally, you feel pressure when you have two losses at the first of the year, but we're going to see all of these folks again," Grammer said. "Our kids know that we can play with the kids in this district. The competition is very close - it's one hit here or one error there that is the difference.
"I think our bats are going to get better toward the end of the season, and we'll compete better."