Big and Bigger: Forney bunches runs into two innings to outscore Lady Cats

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

Feb. 27, 2008 - In a battle of big innings on Tuesday, Forney had more than the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats.

The first five batters for the Lady Cats all reached safely and scored in the first inning, but the Forney Jackrabbits plated four runs in the third and four more in the sixth to take an 8-6 victory on a cold, windy night at Lady Cat Park.

Sulphur Springs (7-4) had the tying runs on base in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Forney catcher Erica LeFlore picked off her second runner of the game at first base for the final out.

Nine of Forney's 10 hits came in their two four-run innings.

"The whole thing is that we need to stop the bleeding sometimes," said SSHS head coach David Carrillo. "We get where things don't go our way and it just kind of snowballs. That's what happened again."

Forney pitcher M'Lynn Tillery used an ever-expanding strike zone to handcuff the Lady Cats over the final three innings. She gave up seven hits and struck out four in the first four innings, then allowed just three hits while fanning five over the final three frames.

Tillery sat down five consecutive batters before SSHS senior Amanda McGowin opened up the bottom of the seventh with an opposite-field single and Jenna Davis followed with a one-out single up the middle. But, the Lady Cats' offense stalled and left the tying run on base.

The game started promisingly for the Lady Cats as sophomore starter Taylor Clifton worked out of a two-on, one-out jam without allowing a run.

Then, in the bottom of the first, five straight runners reached and scored, starting with Kelsey Evans, who hit a sharp grounder off the shortstop's glove, and Mac Morgan, who laid down a bunt and reached when Evans beat the throw to second.

Sophomore Maurie Lewis then shot a two-run double to the left field gap, Brittani Crawford reached on a bunt and Katie Dodd singled hard to left to drive in the Lady Cats's third run. Two more runs scored when McGowin's sacrifice bunt was thrown away for a three-base error to make the score 5-0.

"That was a great start," Carrillo said. "The kids really responded because we tried to play some small ball, and they really executed and handled it well."

But, Forney plated four runs in the third, the biggest hit being a two-run triple by S. Nance.

The Lady Cats responded with a run in the fourth when Lewis had her third RBI of the game with a one-out single up the middle to score JaMonica Hall, who had singled.

Forney, though, put up four more runs, three of them unearned, in the sixth as K. Thompson shot a two-run, inside-the-park home run to right field.

"That's kind of been the way it's been all year. We're giving up a bunch of runs in a few innings," Carrillo said. "I've got to do a better job of convincing our kids that we are a good team, even when things are going wrong."

Clifton went the distance on the mound for Sulphur Springs, giving up 10 hits and five earned runs while fanning four.

Lewis and Hall each had two hits, and Lewis drove in three runs.

Sulphur Springs will be back in action on Thursday in the Frisco tournament with two games: 3 p.m. vs. Denton High and 5 p.m. against Burleson. On Friday, the Lady Cats will play Frisco Wakeland at 5 p.m., and on Saturday they will match-up against Frisco at 11 a.m., Carrollton R.L. Turner at 1 p.m. and Denton Guyer at 5 p.m.

"This tournament is to start finalizing what we're going to do before district," Carrillo said. "It's kind of the last go-around for some of these kids to see where they can best help us. That's why this tournament is so important.

"I believe in them. I know in the long run, we have good kids and a good program and eventually everything will work out."

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