No. 4 L-E breaks away from Lady Cats
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Mar. 14, 2007 - TEXARKANA - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats wrapped up their non-district schedule with their six-game winning streak snapped in a 4-0 loss to the No. 4-ranked Liberty-Eylau Lady Leopards Tuesday night.
But the game was not decided until the fifth inning.
Lady Cats junior Marci Womack and L-E sophomore Lacey Middlebrooks had a scoreless pitchers' duel for the first four innings before Lady Cats coach David Carrillo made a pitching change in the fifth inning and went with freshman Taylor Clifton.
"Marci threw a great game and she did what we wanted to do. We had a plan of 4-and-3, and it wasn't going to change regardless," Carrillo said. "She (Marci) did what she had to do and had another great performance. There was no fault on Taylor tonight. She is a freshman and she got her pitches up a little bit in the one inning, and they took advantage of that.
"It was the last game before district and we are trying to see a few things with the team. I wanted our girls to play and it got away from us in that one inning."
That one inning was the fifth.
Liberty-Eylau sent eight batters to the plate and with one out, Maytilyn McIntyre smacked a triple to right-center, Brandi Martin followed with a bunt single - as Clifton was trying to hold the runner at third. Martin then stole second and Courtney Cooper drove in McIntyre with a grounder to McGowin for the 1-0 lead.
Martin then scored on a passed ball before Heather Reynolds smacked a double. Lauren McDonald then walked to put runners on first and second and both runners advanced to second and third on a double steal. Kaylee Treas then cleared the bases with a double for the 4-0 lead.
"I feel real good about where we are headed right now," Carrillo said. "The players are down right now and I am glad that they are, and I see some good things right now. We played some good people and we have gotten a lot better after the preseason."
Clifton took the loss on the mound going the final two innings and giving up four runs on five hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Womack went the first four innings and allowed two hits while striking out two.
The Lady Cats had a threat in the first inning as Kelsey Evans opened the game with a leadoff single, stole second and reached third base on a passed ball. One out later, Amanda McGowin walked and Katie Dodd struck out on a passed ball. L-E first baseman Lauren McDonald then gunned down Evans at the plate for the double play to end the inning.
"That one hurt a little bit," Carrillo said. "It was an aggressive play and Kelsey was just trying to be aggressive, and I am not going to fault her for that. She went after it and thought she saw an opening and went for it."
Middlebrooks found a way to retire the next 17 Lady Cats batters before Dodd hit a sharp single to the second baseman for their third baserunner of the game. After a single by Maurie Lewis to put runners on first and second with two outs, Middlebrooks got Brittani Crawford to strike out for her 11th strikeout of the game.
"And what can you say about that pitcher? She was really good and I was really impressed with how we moved the ball against her," Carrillo said. "We were able to put the bat on the ball and we battled up at the plate, and we made her earn some of those strikeouts."
Evans, Dodd and Lewis each finished the game 1-for-3 at the plate for the Lady Cats.
SSHS (11-9) will open the District 11-4A season Friday night against Texas High at Lady Cat Park.
"We are going to see the same style of play on Friday and it is going to be a war. We are going to get after it and I feel pretty confident that we are going to come out on top," Carrillo said. "We are going to come out ready to play and I feel excited about Friday night."