Softball hit parade gets rained on by Rowlett

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

April 22, 2008 - ROWLETT - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats' hit parade got rained on by Rowlett pitchers on Monday.

The Lady Cats went into the warm-up game batting .324 as a team, but Rowlett ace Briana Rodriguez and reliever Taylor Hodge limited SSHS to four hits in a 5-1 Lady Eagles' victory at Rowlett High School.

Rodriguez picked up her 20th victory of the season by tossing the first four shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out two. The Lady Cats got to Hodge in the fifth for one earned run, but left six runners stranded in the game.

SSHS head coach David Carrillo used all three of his pitchers, as sophomore Taylor Clifton started and took the loss, working four innings and giving up seven hits and four earned runs. Kaci Kennedy gave up one run in one inning and Marci Womack pitched a scoreless sixth.

Carrillo had wanted to get all of his pitchers some work in preparation for this weekend's bi-district series against Marshall. The Lady Cats (21-9), runners-up in District 11-4A, will play the Lady Mavs (22-10) in a best-of-three series starting at 7 p.m. Thursday in Marshall. Game 2 is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Sulphur Springs, and if a Game 3 is necessary it will be played on Saturday at a site to be determined.

Rowlett (24-3-2), runner-up in District 10-5A, gave Sulphur Springs a good look at strong pitching and excellent opposite-field hitting. The Lady Eagles strung together eight hits, including two each by Mary Morrison, Jordan Leff and Katey Gorsage.

The first hit by Morrison was controversial and turned into the first Rowlett run. The lead-off hitter in the bottom of the first, Morrison lined a one-hopper to freshman right fielder Kara Tomlinson, who fired to first in time to get Morrison out, according to the first base umpire. But, the home plate umpire walked up the line and reversed the call, saying it was his call, not the first base umpire's, to make.

That ended up costing the Lady Cats a run when Gorsage knocked Morrison in with a two-out single.

Rowlett added three more runs in the second on a successful squeeze bunt by Kennedy Cooper and RBI hits by Morrison and Leff, who was gunned down on a relay from Tomlinson to second baseman Amanda McGowin to shortstop Brittani Crawford after Leff had rounded second too far.

Rowlett's final run came in the sixth on Leff's triple and a wild pitch.

The Lady Cats had their chances, getting two runners on base in each of the first two innings, but were unable to get them home. In the first, Mac Morgan led off with a single and JaMonica Hall followed with a hot shot through the third baseman's leg, but Rodriguez set down the next three batters in order.

In the second, Krista McMahan singled to shallow left and with one out Kelsey Evans singled off the pitcher's glove, sending McMahan to third. Tomlinson then hit a fly ball to Leff in centerfield, who threw out McMahan trying to score.

It was one of two double plays started by Leff in center field. The other occurred in the fifth. Evans walked with one out and Tomlinson lined a missile back to the pitcher, who was able to get her glove up to knock the ball away. A walk to Morgan loaded the bases. Hall then hit a sacrifice fly to center which scored Evans, but Morgan was thrown out trying to advance to second.

NOTES: Sulphur Springs did not commit an error; Rowlett had two. ... Rowlett's only two district losses were to Garland High, which went through 10-5A undefeated.

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