Lady Cat fans get a double treat

SSHS wins and Womack pitches for first time

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

March 17, 2008 - Sulphur Springs softball fans got a double treat on Saturday. Not only did the Lady Cats stage a 3-1 victory over Mount Vernon, senior pitcher Marci Womack also stepped into the circle for the first time this season.

Womack, last year's team MVP who is headed to West Texas A&M in the fall, threw two shutout innings at Lady Cat Park, striking out three batters, walking none and allowing just one hit, an infield single. She threw 34 pitches, 21 of them for strikes.

Womack had been sidelined with a wrist injury, but SSHS head coach David Carrillo hopes she will be able to get into competition condition before the District 11-4A season is over.

"Seeing Marci out there was a good thing," Carrillo said. "She threw awesome today."

The Lady Cats (14-6) opened district on Friday night with a 9-1 victory over Paris, then came back Saturday afternoon to get in the non-district contest against Mount Vernon.

After Womack went the first two innings, sophomore Taylor Clifton came in to pitch the final five frames. She gave up seven hits, but didn't walk a batter and was able to leave runners stranded in scoring position in three straight innings.

"Taylor was able to get out of trouble a couple of times," Carrillo said. "That's what I'm asking her to do - go out there and battle. She threw good today. Our pitching really picked up the last two days, and I'm proud of that."

At the plate, the Lady Cats managed five hits - two of them by junior first baseman Katie Dodd that drove in all three runs. Brittani Crawford, Kelsey Evans and Amanda McGowin had the other SSHS hits.

Dodd's two-out double to left in the first inning plated sophomore Maurie Lewis, who had been hit by a pitch from MV starting pitcher Cristy Whitlock. Whitlock, who was relieved by her twin sister, Kelsey, in the sixth inning, struck out two batters and walked three. Two of those walks were costly.

In the fifth, Sulphur Springs' Mac Morgan and Lewis each worked a two-out walk off of Whitlock, then Dodd came through again, this time with a well-placed single to right center that scored both runners to break a 1-1 tie.

In the last five games, Dodd has driven in 14 runs and now has a team-high 21 RBI in 20 games.

"You can't say enough about Katie," Carrillo said. "Ever since we got back from that Frisco tournament, she's been on fire."

Mount Vernon was able to score one run in the third on three consecutive hits and an RBI fielder's choice from Kelsey Whitlock. Each of the next two innings, the Lady Tigers put runners on first and second, but Clifton was able to fan the next batter to get out of the inning unscathed.

"This was a great game against a good team," Carrillo said. "Mount Vernon has a great program. It was a big win for us because they have a lot of tradition over there."

The Lady Cats continue their district schedule tomorrow when they travel to Texas High. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. (JV at 4:30 p.m.).

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