Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SPORTS>> Lady Falcons earn first league victory

Leader sportswriter

The Lady Falcons sent their senior teammate Kristen James out in style, with a sweep over Blytheville on senior night at Dupree Park on Monday night. North Pulaski scored five runs in the fifth inning of Game 1 to win 11-7, and freshman shortstop Andrea Sneed’s heroic efforts in the nightcap helped seal a 7-3 win for its first conference wins of the season.

Sneed ended the Lady Chickasaws’ efforts in the top of the fourth inning of Game 2 with a double play, nabbing a Blytheville line drive and catching the first base runner out of position with a quick throw to first baseman Elizabeth Swaggerty. Her biggest stop of the night, however, was during the following frame.

Blytheville had the bases loaded after making up two runs of a 5-1 deficit, and was threatening for more. Sneed made a quick grab on a one-hopper in the middle for an unassisted out at second base.

“We were thrilled to get two conference wins,” said North Pulaski coach Anne Tharp. “Our defense was good, but I thought our batting was a little sporadic. We hit well for an inning here and there, but we struggled at times too. We’re a young team. We have one senior and one junior — the rest are ninth and 10th graders.”

Swaggerty played most of the second game at first base after earning the win at the mound in Game 1, but returned in the top of the sixth in relief of Ashley Bures.

She closed the game out solid, striking out four of the final six batters she faced, and forced a groundout to end it.

James was honored in between games by teammates, faculty and fans, and scored the first NP run in the second game after hitting a double to centerfield. A single to left by Bures brought James in for the score to give the Lady Falcons a 1-0 lead after one.

Porcha Anderson started the winning rally with a single to centerfield to start the fourth inning, and a walk for Katie Vidal put her at second. Alex Walls drove in the first run, followed by another single, this time by Sneed to score Vidal.

A walk to James loaded the bases, and a single to right field two batters later by Amber Kirschner plated the final two runs of the inning.

The Lady Falcons survived Blytheville’s rally in the top of the fifth, and answered with a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth with a single to right field by Walls that brought in Anderson and Vidal.

The top of the fifth was also rally time for the Lady Chicks in the opener. They made up all four runs of a 5-1 deficit, but North Pulaski took back control in the bottom half of the frame with a six hit effort, highlighted by a bloop into left field by Sneed that scored two runs.

The Lady Falcons were not quite as fortunate against Batesville on Friday. North Pulaski watched an 8-2 lead disappear in Game 1, as the Lady Pioneers scored seven runs in the top of the third inning on the way to a 16-13 win. The second game was all Batesville, with a 13-1 result at the end of the night.

The Lady Falcons are now 2-6 in 5A East Conference play, and played at Beebe last night after Leader deadlines. They will face Greene County Tech on Thursday in a pair of East matchups before returning home to close out their league schedule next Monday against Wynne.