NL takes advantage of Lady Cat errors

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 9, 2008 - Marci Womack's pitch count has been limited this year as the SSHS senior recovers from an injury. Tuesday, Womack's arm allowed her to go more than six innings, but unfortunately, there were throwing problems behind her.

The Lady Cats committed four errors, three of them on throws, allowing North Lamar to score three unearned runs in a 3-2, eight-inning victory at Lady Cat Park.

North Lamar (8-0) wrapped up the District 11-4A title with the win, while the Lady Cats (6-2, 19-8) had already clinched a playoff berth and will secure the district's runner-up spot with a victory over Mount Pleasant on Friday.

Womack and starter Kaci Kennedy combined to allow just five hits without a walk in eight innings. But, NL reliever Rayn House shut down the Lady Cats over the final 3 1/3 innings by fanning seven hitters and allowing just one hit.

Womack had not gone more than four innings since she started pitching three weeks ago, but she gave up just three hits and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings against North Lamar.

The Pantherettes, though, scored the winning run in the top of the eighth when Taylor Steelman reached on an infield error and later scored on a throwing error following Erin McGregor's infield single.

"We made some errors and had some runners in scoring position and didn't get them in," lamented head coach David Carrillo. "We had two chances to end it, and it just didn't happen. I told the girls to quit beating themselves up - we'll have another game to go play."

North Lamar took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on two hits, one by Chelsea Steelman and another by House, and two throwing errors. The damage could have been worse, but first baseman Katie Dodd gunned down a runner at home trying to score on an infield grounder. Catcher Maurie Lewis applied the tag.

The Lady Cats tied the game in the fifth inning - with help from a North Lamar miscue. Kara Tomlinson reached on a Pantherette error with two outs, then JaMonica Hall looped a single to left field. Mac Morgan then worked the count full before lining a double to the right field gap, scoring both runners to knot the game at 2-2.

It looked like the Lady Cats would win the game in the sixth when Lewis led off with a hard-hit double down the third base line, Dodd worked a walk, and with one out Krista McMahan was brushed by a pitch to load the bases. But, House induced an infield pop up and a strikeout to end the inning. House followed with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to end the game.

"We played hard, we laid it on the line," Carrillo said. "We got down and came back. Offensively, we were a little slow, but we battled. They all laid it on the line, everybody. Even our bench players were real supportive tonight."

North Lamar's Crawford sat down the first nine batters of the game in order, but Morgan worked a walk to lead off the fourth inning and Dodd singled off the rubber. But, two hard-hit balls - a liner to center field by Lewis and a fly ball to the fence by Brittani Crawford - ended up in NL fielders' gloves.

"I feel confident that our girls will bounce back," Carrillo said. "After the first couple of innings, we got settled in and were able to move the ball. But, we just hit it right at somebody. That's going to happen.

"Even though we didn't get it done tonight, we'll be OK."

The Lady Cats are scheduled to travel to Mount Pleasant on Friday with a 6 p.m. first pitch. The Lady Tigers were 1-6 heading into yesterday's game against Lindale.

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