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The Lady Hawks – in a return to their glory days of fast-pitch softball – started the season ready to play in a two-and-a-half innings shellacking of rival Elizabethtown Lady Panthers. The team combined for nine hits and 18 runs to win 18-1 March 22 at Lady Hawk Field.
The top of the first saw the Lady Hawks defense put the freeze on E’town’s first three batters, then the offense went to work. Junior Valerie Whitlock led the Lady Hawks in the first inning with two hits, two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. Lyndsay Whitlock followed behind her twin sister with a two RBI double in the inning. Sixth-grader Erin Boley, the youngest Lady Hawk to ever don a varsity uniform, added two hits, one RBI and a stolen base. After the first inning, the Lady Hawks ran the score to 9-0.
In the top of the second, Amelia Miller remained in control on the mound, as the Lady Hawks saw four batters and gave up just one hit. LaRue put up nine more runs in the second inning. Valerie Whitlock added a two RBI double; Brittany Enlow had a three run RBI; Courtney Johnson had one RBI. Eighth-grader Peyton Gardner, replacing injured junior outfield Cassady Crim, stepped up to the plate for her first at-bat as a varsity player and smacked a base hit for two RBIs in the inning.
The Lady Hawks were three outs away from winning by mercy rule. The Lady Panthers put a small rally together to muster one run, but pitcher Amelia Miller shut down the last batter with a strike out to get the win for the Lady Hawks.
Loss to Taylor
The Lady Hawks traveled to Taylor County March 23 and came up short in a 4-0 shutout by the Lady Cards.
The Lady Hawks were solid defensively through three innings, but a throwing error led to Taylor’s first run. The Lady Hawks fought back by getting runners in scoring position, but kept hitting the ball right at Taylor County defenders. Taylor put three hits together in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-0 lead. The Lady Hawks rallied in the seventh but found themselves with a loss. Gardner and Miller had the lone hits for the Lady Hawks.
“This game proved to the girls that not every day is going to be easy, and you have to give it your all each day. We played well, but of course not good enough to win,” Coach Mielle DiStefano said. “I think this was a case of not wanting to let each other down, if one player makes an error, they get down, and the others try to bring her back up, and lose focus of what is going on in the present. That shows how close knit they are, but we have to find a way to overcome these feelings, you make a mistake, you have to move on.”
The Lady Hawks bounced back Thursday with a 2-1 defeat of 18th District rival Hart County.
Hart County struck first with an unearned run in the second to take a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, Valerie Whitlock, who had three hits on the day and an RBI, put down a perfect bunt, then Lyndsay Whitlock, who had two hits and an RBI, crushed a shot to the fence to score Valerie.
In the bottom of the fourth, Crim led off with a bunt and advanced to second on Miller’s sacrifice bunt. Valerie Whitlock smashed the left center gap to bring Crim around to give the Lady Hawks the lead, 2-1.
After the team took the lead, Miller struck out four batters, while the defense did the rest, as they did not give up a run during Hart’s late rally.
“Our girls remained calm in some tense situations in the sixth and seventh inning and that is a great sign of composure at this early stage,” said DiStefano. “They are playing like a total team, and it is showing.”
Lady Colonels capsized
Friday’s contest saw the much-improved Lady Colonels of Caverna visit Lady Hawk Field but return home with a 9-2 defeat.
In the bottom of the first, Lyndsay Whitlock drew a walk, followed by an infielder’s choice by Boley, which moved Whitlock to second. Clean-up hitter Ellen Huff smashed a single scoring Whitlock to take the first lead of the game.
Caverna struck back with two runs in the third, but the Lady Hawks put a stop to the Lady Colonels scoring and brightened the scoreboard on the home side. Valerie Whitlock led off the inning with a hit, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Lyndsay Whitlock. Huff answered again with an RBI base hit to score Valerie Whitlock. Johnson reached base on an error, as next batter Brittany Enlow hit a two run double. Crim brought in Gardner, a courtesy runner for Enlow, with a base hit to put four more runs on the board for LaRue. The Lady Hawks scored four more runs, ending the district battle with a 9-2 win and giving Enlow her first win of the season.
On April 5, the Lady Hawks travel to Bay County, Fla. to play Freeport High School, Rutherford High School, Arnold High School and AC Moseley. These teams already have a combined 50 games under their belt, but DiStefano said the Lady Hawks will be up for their challenge.