Lady Cats turn to defense for win

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

April 4, 2007 - TEXARKANA - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats lived by the familiar saying "Defense wins ballgames" on Tuesday against the Texas High Lady Tigers in a 2-0 win in 10 innings at Lady Tiger Field.

After committing seven errors against Paris on Saturday afternoon during a 1-0 loss, the Lady Cats came out with a solid defensive game behind starter Marci Womack with no errors and seven innings with three-up, three-down softball.

"Coach (Eric) Buck just handed me the card and we had no errors tonight. That was the key to the game for us and I have been saying that all along," said SSHS coach David Carrillo.

"Tonight, about everybody got to play and everybody played a certain role somewhere in the game. I am proud of them, and there are some instances where I had to use one person for this or one person for that. You play 10 innings and those things happen where someone has to play a role, and we were able to do that tonight."

Womack picked up the win by pitching a complete game four-hitter with five strikeouts, and she also took a line shot to her catching hand in the fourth inning on a single by Victoria Stewart. Sulphur Springs right fielder Tarra Morton was also hit on her ring finger in the third inning by Texas High pitcher Kelsey Harrington.

"They got some injuries and anytime you hurt a finger like Tarra did you get concerned since that is her throwing hand and I wanted to make sure she was well," he said. "With Marci, she is banged up and she is tough and looks to be all right."

In the top of the 10th inning, SSHS pinch hitter Jordan Anderson reached base on a third strike passed ball, and then Brittani Crawford reached on an infield single to put runners on first and second with one out.

Krista McMahan then loaded the bases with a fielder's choice that Crawford beat out at second. Jamonica Hall followed with an infield grounder on which the second baseman committed an error, allowing pinch runner Jenna Davis to score the first run of the game. Crawford then scored from third as Kelsey Evans reached on a fielding error by the first baseman for the 2-0 lead.

"Again, our girls did not quit. As long as we were playing well defensively, they felt we would be able to make things happen and we were able to do that," Carrillo said. "It didn't matter how we got on base to start it with a passed ball, third strike to start it our girls were able to feed off that."

Earlier in the game, SSHS (14-12, 3-3 in District 11-4A) had a hard time figuring out Harrington as the Lady Cats went three-up, three-down in six of the 10 innings. Harrington also had a no-hitter through the first five innings with six strikeouts during that stretch. She finished with nine strikeouts and five hits.

The Lady Cats ended the no-hitter in the top of the sixth inning with back-to-back singles by Evans and Mac Morgan with two outs, but the runners were left stranded. In the top of the seventh inning, Crawford led off the inning with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out but was left stranded for their only threats before the 10th inning. Crawford led the Lady Cats at the plate going 2-for-4 with two stolen bases and a run scored.

"Again, we did have times struggling at putting the ball in play, but again you are seeing a good pitcher," Carrillo said. "When you see good pitching it is going to be the team that makes the first mistake and fortunately we weren't the ones to make the first mistake.

"I really felt good about the way our girls fought and tried to play the perfect game. You are going to see those 10 inning games sometimes and we were able to come out on top by playing error-free ball."

With the loss, Texas High falls to 0-6 in district.

"Texas High has no quit in them and they are a great 0-6 team," he said. "I hate to say that but they are and they are very well-coached. Their program is a great program and we were able to do what we needed to do to win. I challenged our girls to come out and start winning and not waiting to win. They hung in there and again we got a tough contest on Thursday."

Sulphur Springs will host North Lamar at 6 p.m. Thursday in a varsity only contest. The game was originally scheduled for Friday but was changed due to Good Friday.

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