Lady Cats defeat Texas High; clinch playoff berth with win

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

April 8, 2008 - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats took advantage of their postponed game against the Texas High Lady Tigers with clutch hitting in the third inning during a 2-0 win Monday night at Lady Cat Park.

"It was one of those games again that we played well tonight," said SSHS head coach David Carrillo. "We know that it is going to get tough from here on out, and I know that and our girls know that. Our girls did a great job tonight and battled. They made plays when they needed to and it was just another great team effort."

Behind a combined six-hitter from Taylor Clifton, Kaci Kennedy and Marci Womack, the Lady Cats improved to 19-7 overall and 6-1 in District 11-4A play with three games remaining in the regular season. The Lady Cats also clinched a postseason berth with the win over Texas High.

The game was scoreless through the first 2 1/3 innings before the Lady Cats put together a two-out rally as Maurie Lewis reached on a fielder's choice. Katie Dodd then followed with her second hit of the game off Texas High starter Ariel McDowell.

With two outs in the inning, shortstop Brittani Crawford then cleared the bases with a two-run, game-winning single to left field.

"Brittani comes through again for us and she does an outstanding job," the coach said. "It is pretty tough for pitchers when you have Maurie Lewis, Katie Dodd and Brittani in the lineup, and they are there to produce."

The Lady Tigers (3-4 in district) had a chance to take the lead in the top of the fourth inning off Kennedy as they loaded the bases with two outs, but Womack then came on in relief and got out of the inning with no damage done.

T-High's Morgan Patton led off the inning with a single, followed by a batter's interference by Liz Hughes for the first out of the inning. On the play, Hughes attempted a sacrifice bunt, but kicked the ball in the process and was called out.

Kaci Stilson and Shelbie Palmore then hit back-to-back singles to load the bases off Kennedy as she went 1 1/3 innings of three-hit softball. Texas High center fielder Jessica Lee then laid down an attempted sacrifice bunt, but Womack fielded the ball and tossed it home to record the second out. Womack then struck out Stephanie Bledsoe to end the inning.

Sulphur Springs had a chance to add to its lead in the fourth inning as Mac Morgan and Lewis worked back-to-back, one-out walks, but McDowell got a strikeout and a grounder to end the inning.

Dodd led the Lady Cats at the plate going 2-for-3 with one run scored, while Lewis, Crawford, Amanda McGowin and Kara Tomlinson recorded one hit each.

SSHS returns to its normal schedule tonight with a match-up against district-leading North Lamar (6-0) at 6 p.m. at Lady Cat Park.

"The girls know what is at stake and the coaching staff knows what is at stake," Carrillo said. "It is good to be in this position to have an opportunity to play for a district championship, and that has been our goal all year."

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