Two for the Show: Lady Cat hitters take a bite out of Lindale pitching

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

April 16, 2008 - The teeth of the Lady Cats' batting order took a bite out of Lindale pitching on Tuesday, and that set the table for Sulphur Springs' Senior Night victory.

The Lady Cats broke open a 6-6 tie by scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to propel them to a 12-7 win over Lindale in the regular season finale at Lady Cat Park.

The 3-4-5 hitters in the SSHS order, Maurie Lewis, Katie Dodd and Brittani Crawford, combined to go 9-for-11 with seven RBI and a walk. Dodd's two-out, RBI triple in the sixth broke the tie and opened the floodgates.

"They're a tough group to go through," SSHS head coach David Carrillo said of the middle of the line-up. "That's the strength of our order. All of our girls, 1-9, can hit, but it's real tough to avoid them especially when you have baserunners on.

"I'm happy we were able to persevere. I really enjoyed how the girls battled and fought. We didn't play well defensively tonight, but I thought offensively we played very well. We were able to hit the ball and come back."

Sulphur Springs had already clinched the runner-up spot in District 11-4A, finishing with an 8-2 record (21-8 overall). The Lady Cats await their first round opponent, the No. 3 team in District 12-4A, which will be either Whitehouse, Henderson or Marshall.

Lindale (5-5), meanwhile, fell into a tie for third-place with Texas High (a 10-0 winner over Mount Pleasant). The two teams will have a play-in for the final playoff spot on Thursday at Sulphur Springs.

It appeared Lindale might get into the playoffs on their own volition when they posted a four-run fourth inning and followed it up with a two-run fifth to tie the score at 6-6.

But, sophomore Mac Morgan reached on a two-base error to lead off the bottom of the sixth. A sacrifice by JaMonica Hall moved her to third, and with two outs, Dodd laced a triple into the right field gap to put the Lady Cats ahead. The next seven batters then reached safely as SSHS erupted for six two-out runs.

Crawford followed with an RBI single and pinch hitter Jenna Davis walked ahead of Amanda McGowin, whose single loaded the bases. Kelsey Evans then reached on an infield error and freshman Kara Tomlinson pulled an RBI single down the left field line to make the score 10-6. Morgan then came up for the second time in the inning and shot a two-run single to left.

The Lady Cats had taken a 3-0 lead in the first two innings when Crawford's RBI single plated Hall, who had singled, and Lewis' two-run double to the left field gap scored Tomlinson and Morgan.

The Lady Cats' lead evaporated, though, in the fourth when they committed five errors, leading to four unearned Lindale runs. The Lady Eagles had a 4-3 lead despite having just one hit against SSHS starter Marci Womack, who pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits and a walk while fanning 10. Three runs were earned against her.

"We've got to be sharper defensively, and that's no secret," Carrillo said. "In the playoffs, it's going to be 1-0, 2-1 games, and the team that makes the least mistakes is going to win. We've got to be sharper defensively."

Fortunately for the Lady Cats, they ended up mashing out 14 hits against Lindale starter Brooke Martin, who went 1 2/3 innings, and reliever Ashton Brey, who took the loss.

After Lindale took a 4-3 lead, the Lady Cats struck back for three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Tomlinson doubled to left with one out and Hall reached on an error. Then Lewis had her second run-scoring double of the game, this time to the right field gap, and Dodd brought her home with an opposite-field RBI single.

Crawford went 4-for-4 with two RBI, Lewis was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI, and Dodd went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk. Also with a multiple-hit game was Tomlinson (2-for-4).

Lindale's only three earned runs came in the fifth when Samantha Strother's two-run single tied the game at 6-6, and then Martin hit a solo home run in the seventh.

NOTES: The Lady Cats will have a warm-up game at 5 p.m. Monday against Rowlett. The game will be in Rowlett. ... District 12-4A's regular season ends Friday, so the Lady Cats should know who they play after that. ... The first round of the playoffs is scheduled for April 24-26.

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