Cats bats hot in sweep
It's easy to see why De Soto softball coach Kelly Dennis deemed Thursday's doubleheader sweep of Central Heights a miracle. On most nights, the Wildcats don't have a prayer of overcoming their defensive shortcomings.
But against the Vikings, De Soto did most things right. The Wildcats pitched well, pounded out 23 hits and came from behind in each game to get a win.
The only area of her team's play that continued to perplex the coach was her team's propensity to commit too many errors.
"We're still making so many mistakes," the coach said. "I guess the most frustrating part of it is that we shouldn't be doing it on our home field. We should know how our own field plays."
The Wildcats cut their mistakes some against the Vikings. In a game earlier this year, De Soto was credited with 12 errors. Last Thursday, they committed 10 total in the twin bill.
While not overlooking the team's defensive lapses, Dennis was excited about her pitching staff. Three Wildcat pitchers combined to allow 12 hits in two games, and they didn't give up a walk in either contest.
Jessica Pennington, Meagan Bliss and Lauren Burford combined for a 2.80 earned run average and 11 strikeouts. Central Heights hit a cold .185 against De Soto pitching.
"At the beginning of the year, I was concerned with my pitching," Dennis said. "But I was very happy with my pitchers (Thursday). They hit their spots, changed speeds and were aggressive in going after their batters."
The Wildcats ripped the Viking pitching staff for nearly two-dozen hits. That total included five hits that went for extra bases. In the second game the Wildcats accounted for four extra base hits.
De Soto seemed content to allow the Vikings to make the first move in both games. But De Soto had an answer each time.
The first game remained scoreless through the first three innings. Then Central Heights drew first blood by tallying four runs in the top of the fourth inning. The Wildcats responded with four scores of their own in the fifth inning.
Central Heights took a 5-4 advantage going into the bottom half of the seventh inning after Crystal Bell led the inning with a double. She took third on a passed ball and scored on a throwing error.
Lindsay Williams secured a tie for De Soto in the bottom of the seventh inning when she reached base safely on a fielder's choice and stole second. Williams scored on a Viking throwing error to second base.
The Wildcats got the win when Kelsey Lawson arrived safely at first base because of a fielder's choice and then stole second. She beat out a throw to third following the next Wildcat at bat and came home on a Leslie Elmer roller to short in the bottom of the extra inning.
The Vikings jumped on top 3-0, in the top half of the first inning of the second game as well. But De Soto scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning, taking the lead for good.
The Wildcats then outscored the Vikings 4-1 in the third inning and 3-0 the rest of the way in routing the Vikings 11-4 in the nightcap.
Leslie Elmer had the hot bat against the Vikings. She went six-for-eight and scored four runs. The senior also knocked in two runs and beat out a double.
Kayla Bader was three-of-seven on the night and scored a run, while knocking one in. Burford was credited with four hits and three runs. Williams, Kira Gonzalez, Lawson and Pennington all had two hits. Williams scored two runs for the Wildcats. Trish King and Lawson tallied two scores apiece and Pennington scored once.
De Soto, 4-6, plays at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Louisburg. The Wildcats will play one game against the Wildcats and another against Anderson County.