Lady Cats dominate Marshall in Game 1 victory

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

April 25, 2008 - MARSHALL - Sulphur Springs right fielder Kara Tomlinson must have been the envy of the other two Lady Cat outfielders on Thursday. Tomlinson actually had a ball hit her way.

A seventh-inning, opposite-field single was the only ball that senior pitcher Marci Womack and her defense allowed out of the infield as the Lady Cats shut down the Marshall Lady Mavs, 6-0, in the first game of their bi-district playoff series.

Game 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at Lady Cat Park. If a third game is needed, it will be played on Saturday at a time and place to be decided.

The Lady Cats (22-9) didn't allow Marshall (22-11) to get a runner past second base and didn't commit an error. Womack, who gave up three hits and fanned 10, was backed up by fine fielding plays from all four of her infielders.

"Marci threw an awesome game," said SSHS head coach David Carrillo. "She really stepped up, and that's what senior leadership does for you. She was ready for tonight - she's been pitching for four years in this program waiting for tonight."

At the plate, meanwhile, the Lady Cats knocked out nine base hits against starting pitcher Erin Young, who lasted into the fifth inning. SSHS sophomore JaMonica Hall went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Katie Dodd and Brittani Crawford each knocked in a pair of runs.

The Lady Cats got their first run in the second inning by playing small ball. Junior Krista McMahan led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Amanda McGowin, took third on and wild pitch and was brought home on senior Kelsey Evans' grounder to the right side. Evans went 1-for-3 with an RBI.

It turned out that was the only run they would need.

"Our team came in confident," Carrillo said. "I told them, it's just another game, go out there and have fun, and that's what they did."

The Lady Cats scored again in the third inning on Hall's single up the middle and Dodd's RBI single to left.

Then, Marshall had its only real scoring opportunity in the fourth. Marshall's Rebecca Young was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to second. But, when Jenny Hudson grounded hard to Crawford at shortstop, Young broke for third. Crawford's throw to Mac Morgan covering the bag was in time for the tag out.

Two more Marshall runners reached second in the final three innings, but both times it was with two outs. McGowin, at second, saved one run in the fifth when she made a diving, backhand stop of a grounder and threw from the dirt to get the runner at first for the final out of the inning.

Dodd made a diving catch of a soft liner in the third, and Morgan straddled the third base line in the sixth when she gloved a bouncer and threw to first for the final out.

"When you make big plays like that, and the other team sees it, it's just like a balloon deflating. It just demoralizes you," Carrillo said. "I could tell they were getting a little frustrated because we did make some great plays tonight."

The Lady Cats then put the game away with a four-run fifth inning that started when Morgan, normally a right-handed hitter, stepped up to the plate from the left side and pulled a single to right.

"Coach (Kendra) Trantham is the one he suggested we try Mac on the left side, and she opened up that one big inning with a hit," Carrillo said. "I got a lot of help, as usual from our assistant coaches - Coach (Eric) Buck has really been working our defense."

Hall followed Morgan with another single and Maurie Lewis loaded the bases when Morgan beat out a throw to third on her sacrifice bunt. Dodd then brought home one run with an infield grounder, Crawford singled sharply up the middle to score two more, and McGowin successfully squeezed in Dodd for the final run.

After that, it was all up to the defense.

"Our team played well tonight," Carrillo said. "And they're having fun."

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