Science Hill softball has winning formula against D-B

Jeff Birchfield • Apr 10, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Good defense and timely hitting. More often than not, it’s a winning formula in softball.

Such was the case Wednesday afternoon when Science Hill downed Dobyns-Bennett 4-1 in a key Big Eight Conference contest at Metro-Kiwanis Park.

Vanessa Elliott spurred the defensive effort for the Lady ‘Toppers, who improved to 8-1 in the league and 17-10 overall.

She was solid in the circle, scattering seven hits and striking out six batters in a complete-game effort.

“I just knew my defense was back there,” Elliott said. “My curveball was working better than it usually does, but I didn’t have my best game. It seemed like the defense was always backing me up. They have a lot of good hitters, but I thought we got to them pretty good.”

Science Hill head coach Jerry Higgins said the combination of Elliott in the circle and the play of the girls behind her was key on a day when neither team busted through with much scoring.

“Every day, everybody isn’t going to light it up,” Higgins said. “That’s the way we have to do it. We can’t make mistakes because they always bite us. Vanessa didn’t make any pitching and we were error-free in the field.”

Dobyns-Bennett (5-6, 15-11) actually had more hits 7-5 than the Lady ‘Toppers. But, the Lady Indians only came through once. It was in the fourth inning when Abby Stratton walked followed by back-to-back singles by Kristen Johnson and Leah Taylor. A bases-loaded walk by Lyndsey Jones accounted for their only run.

“It was frustrating at best,” D-B head coach Andy Hubbard said. “The effort was there, but we didn’t get a timely hit. We didn’t get a couple of bunts down when we needed. We just need to get better.”

On the other hand, Science Hill was able to get hits at crucial times.

Emma Martindale hit a two-run double to score Hannah Devotie and Megan Devote in the first inning, and Sam Bradley gave the Lady ‘Toppers breathing room in the fifth with a two-run single to score Casie Gump and Hannah Devotie.

“I kept in front of the ball so I was expecting another change-up,” Bradley said. “I got out a little on my front foot, but I blooped it right over her shoulder. It wasn’t a hard hit, but it was what we needed.”

It certainly wasn’t what D-B pitcher Brianna Patterson needed. She ended with the loss despite giving up just two extra-base hits, one to Martindale and one to Jordan Rush in the fourth inning. Johnson and Taylor led the Lady Indians with 2-for-3 efforts at the plate, but it they were left stranded on base in the fourth and sixth innings.

The Lady Indians head coach said it means every game in the league is critical from this point on.

“Every “W” in the conference will be a good win,” Hubbard said. “We play good 4-5 games then we play average or mediocre for 2-3 games. If you don’t do the little things in this league, you’re going to get beat, especially against a good team like Science Hill.”

After beating D-B, the Lady ‘Toppers are set for a showdown with another DB, hosting league-leading Daniel Boone on Friday. Science Hill finds itself behind the Lady ‘Blazers in the Big Eight standings after getting upset by David Crockett last Tuesday.

“That Crockett loss is going to force us to sweep Boone,” Higgins said. “It’s going to take everything we’ve got and then some to do that. But, we’ll sure give it a whirl.”

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