Lady Cats don’t let short turnaround time distract them from beating Texas High

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

March 23, 2008 - TEXARKANA - SSHS softball coach David Carrillo didn't have a lot to say to the Lady Cats after their game on Friday. He really didn't need to.

The Lady Cats played a crisp, focused game in beating Texas High 6-2 in a make-up game rescheduled from Tuesday. The afternoon contest came after a long road trip and on the heels of a 5-4 setback to North Lamar the night before.

"I'm very proud of how they bounced back because it was a tough loss against North Lamar," Carrillo said. "But, we had to forget about it in this district. They got after it today - everybody contributed.

"There really wasn't much of a speech to say today other than, 'Ya'll are playing great, keep it up and let's keep getting better.' "

SSHS starting pitcher Kaci Kennedy pitched three perfect innings, giving her teammates a chance to stake her to a 4-0 lead. Though Texas High scored a pair of runs in the fourth, Kennedy picked up the victory by striking out three and allowing just two hits and no walks.

Senior Marci Womack came on in relief for the second straight game, and allowed just one hit and one walk in three innings. She struck out three in picking up the save.

At the plate, sophomore Maurie Lewis had two hits and a walk and drove in two runs with a sixth-inning single. Junior Katie Dodd also had two RBI with a first-inning triple and a third-inning sacrifice fly.

The Lady Cats started off the right way by scoring in the first as Lewis walked with two outs, then Dodd drove a pitch into the right field corner for a 1-0 lead.

In the third, Mac Morgan reached on an infield error and Kelsey Evans bunted her to third. Dodd then hit a line drive to center field for the RBI. Evans stole second and scored when Brittani Crawford's ground ball was thrown away.

Sulphur Springs made it 4-0 in the top of the fourth as Morgan again reached on an error and stole second. Lewis singled into the hole at short, putting runners on first and third. The Lady Cats then executed a double steal, as Lewis scored without a throw.

Texas High cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring twice as Morgan Patton tripled to open the inning and then Jenny Hughes knocked in Arial McDowell, who had been hit by a pitch.

But, the Lady Cats answered with two more runs in the sixth.

"We were able to answer today, and that's real important, because that's something we didn't do against North Lamar," Carrillo said. "Our kids are playing hard. They're getting after it."

The two sixth-inning runs were manufactured by utilizing small ball. JaMonica Hall beat out a bunt with one out, then Morgan was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Evans then grounded a ball to the right side, allowing both runners to advance.

That became very important, because Texas High moved the infield in a couple of steps, which was enough for Lewis' Texas leaguer to shallow left field to fall beyond the reach of T-High shortstop Kaci Stilson. With two outs, both runners were moving and scored easily.

"The great thing about our team is that we're playing as a team," Carrillo said. "Everybody's is accepting their role and playing well, and that's important to us because we've got to play as a team and as a family to be successful.

"The girls are really grasping onto that concept."

Those two runs were more than enough breathing room for Womack, who has not allowed a run in seven innings this season.

The Lady Cats are now 2-1 and in second place in District 11-4A (15-7 overall). They will have their district home opener on Tuesday against Mount Pleasant (1-1). The JV game is set for 4:30 p.m., with varsity at 6 p.m.

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