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Bad inning proves costly for Crockett

March 24th, 2014 10:29 pm by Jeff Birchfield

Bad inning proves costly for Crockett

For three innings, it looked like a pitching duel between Science Hill’s Vanessa Elliott and David Crockett’s Haley Grindstaff was in the works.

Then came the top of the fourth.

In that one frame, Science Hill took advantage of three errors by the Lady Pioneers’ defense to score seven runs. It was all the scoring Lady ’Toppers needed in a 7-4 victory Monday evening at Mary Irwin Field.

“We did just enough, and Crockett did just enough too, to let us do enough, if that makes any sense,” Science Hill coach Jerry Higgins said after his team improved to 3-1 in the Big Seven Conference and 8-4 overall.

Higgins’ rambling made perfect sense to David Crockett coach Carla Weems, who saw the one inning cost her team an opportunity to stay among the league leaders. The Lady Pioneers fell to 2-3 in league play and 5-9 overal.

“If you look at the earned runs, they didn’t earn runs. We gave it to them,” Weems said. “We had that one inning where if we had done the things we needed to on defense, then we could have won the ballgame.”  

They didn’t do those things, and the Lady ’Toppers were certainly ready to pounce on the opportunity.

Science Hill catcher Meredith Jackson had a two-run single and Cheyenne Smith later added a two-run double. Leadoff batter Megan Guinn capped off the seven-run outburst when Crockett made two errors on the same at-bat.

The irony of it was Weems saw her team make big defensive plays in each of the previous two innings to keep the Lady ’Toppers at bay. It included a perfectly timed throw from shortstop Lily Ayers to home plate to deny the Lady ’Toppers from scoring in the top of the third.

“Other than that one bad inning, we played well,” Weems said. “Our bats were good today, and we didn’t give up. We just gave it to them with that one bad inning.”

Elliott was credited with the win, going five innings before handing off a 7-2 lead to Emma Martindale. Crockett was able to get eight hits and four runs off Science Hill’s talented pitchers, but it wasn’t enough to worry their head coach.

“They’re going to do what they’re going to do,” Higgins said about Elliott and Martindale. “Neither one is going to overpower you. But either one, we have to worry about.”

Sophomore first baseman Megan Maupin went 2-for-4 to lead the Lady ’Toppers at the plate. Higgins pointed out that even her two outs were hard-hit balls that went right to Crockett second baseman Madison Grindstaff.

“She hit two atom balls,” Higgins said. “She hit two rockets right at them, and there isn’t anything you can do there, but keep swinging. She had two pretty good hits, and two pretty good outs.”

There weren’t enough outs for Haley Grindstaff, who suffered the loss despite scattering six hits. The Crockett ace, who was an All-Big Seven Conference first-team selection last season, struck out three and gave up four walks.

Samantha Fox led the Lady Pioneers on the offensive end. The Crockett first baseman ended 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Kaitlyn Shelton and Madison Tartlon each added RBI hits. Madison Grindstaff was 1-for-4, and also accounted for Crockett’s last run with a RBI ground out to score Fox.

Weems liked the fight of her team as everyone in the lineup reached base at least once, although the Lady Pioneers stranded 10 runners on base.

“We always battle,” she said. “I just hate that we always have that one inning we can’t get over.”

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