West Lincoln hands CHS division loss

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Sometimes, as much as the pain rocks the nerves, you must tip your hat to the better team.

And, while Cathedral (6-12, 4-5 division 7-1A) was fighting for its playoff life Thursday, West Lincoln’s bats were red hot in a 10-2 defeat at the Natchez-Adams County Softball Complex.

The Bears (19-5, 5-1 division 7-1A) control their own destiny with three more division games left on the slate, while Cathedral is left rubbing a rabbit’s foot.

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&uot;We have one more game in district and we hope we can end the season 5-5, and then there’s no telling what can happen,&uot; Green Wave head coach Cloyce Hinton said. &uot;I don’t think that’ll get us into the playoffs, but we’ve got a shot at doing it.

&uot;(West Lincoln) is the only team in the district with one loss.&uot;

The Bears looked like it too. A four-run third inning blew the barn door open and the stampede was on from there.

Cathedral pitcher Brandi McGraw walked 10th-man Hollie Smith to lead off the top of the third. After Lauren Smith singled, putting runners at first and second, Britnee Smith flew out for the inning’s first out, but the runners advanced a base.

West Lincoln first baseman Alicia Kennedy followed with a two-RBI single to give the Bears the lead that they never relinquished again.

Four straight hitters followed Kennedy’s base hit with singles of their own, as West Lincoln built a 4-1 lead before McGraw enduced Carrie Fauver into a fly out to end the rally.

&uot;We’re pretty consistent. If all 10 of them are batting, we’re doing real good,&uot; said Bears head coach Andrew Redd, whose team collected 15 hits throughout the game. &uot;We’ve struggled at times, and when we’re struggling, we’re not doing well at the plate.&uot;

Then, West Lincoln tacked on three more runs in the top of the fifth when April Kennedy started things off with a single to left centerfield.

The Green Wave had two outs in the inning, but Kelsey Bass kept things alive for the Bears with a single to advance the runner into scoring position.

Emily Richardson delivered scored April Kennedy when she reached base on an error for a 5-1 lead; however, it was Fauver, who delivered the knockout punch, when she cleared the bases with a double to left field to score two and push the lead up to 7-1.

&uot;They had that one big inning and got some base hits and we didn’t,&uot; said Hinton, whose ball club combined for just five hits. &uot;It came down to who was going to hit the ball and we couldn’t tonight.&uot;

The Green Wave had a chance to cut into West Lincoln’s lead midway through the contest in their half of the fourth.

After Alex Roberts led things off with a single into center, Cathedral caught a bit of bad luck when Mattie Smith picked out a pitch she like and crushed it on the button into left field.

However, the ball was right at West Lincoln’s Richardson and Smith was retired for the inning’s first out.

With two outs in the inning, Emily Stevens put runners in scoring position when she reached on a single and advanced to second when the Bears throw headed for third in an attempt to get Roberts.

However, the chance to get runs fell by the wayside when Leighton McDaniel flew out to left field.

&uot;We had as much of an opportunity as you’re going to get to collect base hits and score runs, but we didn’t,&uot; Hinton said. &uot;We’ve been making errors at the plate frequently.&uot;

In the sixth, the Green Wave were able to tack on one run to make it a 8-2 ball game, but the opening to slice into the Bears lead even more was once again lost after Cathedral hitters could not get the ball out of the infield.

McDaniel scored Elizabeth Blackwell, who had come into to run for smith, to cut it to a six-run deficit, but a Kate Reed fielder’s choice with runners at first and second killed the threat.

&uot;It’s just a heartbreaker for these seniors who worked so hard,&uot; Hinton said of McDaniel, Laura Huffines, Kati Hinton and Kate Reed. &uot;All four have been playing softball since they were in the seventh grade. It hurt me that they had to lose their last home game.&uot;

Cathedral took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Huffines led off with a single and advance to second on an error by the left fielder.

Again, the shot to get more was snuffed out when Smith hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

&uot;We’re pretty solid all over the field,&uot; Redd said. &uot;We do a good job in the field, infield and outfield. We’ve got three more tough games to go before the regular season is over.&uot;