Huntington starts season with 5-1 win over Franklin

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – It was the beginning of a new season for the Huntington High Lady Houds fast-pitch softball team on Thursday night. And the first game of the 2001 campaign produced a result Hound fans were used to seeing last year: a victory. Huntington defeated Franklin Academy 5-1.

&uot;We said before the game, ‘This is the start of our state championship run,’&uot; said Huntington coach Mike McAnally.

Last season, the Lady Hounds won the 1A state title and then finished in third place in the overall state championship. What got them to that point last year – pitching and defense – was displayed in Thursday’s game.

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Freshman Erin Hedrick tossed a five-hitter while yielding only one run, and the defense committed no errors and turned in a few dandy plays to give Huntington the victory.

Huntington also got good production from the top of the lineup. Whitney Bradford scored three runs, going 2-3 with two singles. She reached on an error in her other at-bat. Tiffany Ferguson also was 2-3 with a run batted in. Lauren Wagoner collected two RBIs with a hit and a sacrifice fly. Those three and Emily Hazlip had all six of the Lady Hounds’ hits.

&uot;Whitney is a spark plug. She sets the tone for us. If she gets on base, she sets up a lot of things for us,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;On the first pitch, she got a hit that really set the tone for us tonight.&uot;

Huntington scored two runs in the first, two in the third and one in the fifth.

Hedrick kept the ball around the plate and got key outs when needed. She walked no one, struck out five and got out of two jams.

In the second inning, Hedrick allowed the leadoff batter to reach on a base hit. Sandy Carroll, the second hitter of the frame, then bunted the ball back to Hedrick. She fired to second to get the runner but she was safe, leaving two on and no outs.

But the defense picked Hedrick up. She allowed a single up the middle to Minnie Bringol that scored a run, but centerfielder Lindsay Wagoner forced Bringol at second. Hedrick then induced Heidi Smith to hit into a force out and got the third out with a strike out.

In the third, Franklin’s Ashley Chapman doubled with one out. Katy Spence popped up to center and Chapman tried to tag. Lindsay Wagoner threw wildly to third base, but Hedrick was backing up. She threw the ball to Lauren Wagoner to nail Chapman.

&uot;It was good to win the first game of the season, especially against Franklin because they’ve been a rival for so long,&uot; said Hedrick.

Huntington will play in the Amite tournament Saturday in Liberty.

&uot;It’s a real strong field,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;We hope it’s a long day for us because that means we’re winning games.&uot;