Friday, March 18, 2011

SPORTS>>NP softball finds way with bats, on mound

Leader sportswriter

The North Pulaski Lady Falcons disposed of Pulaski Academy quickly in a 10-0 run-ruled shutout in non-conference play at Dupree Park on Thursday.

The Lady Falcons (3-2) claimed victory in five innings and were backed by an error-free performance and a one-hit start by junior pitcher Brittany Bains.

Bains gave up a double to Celeste Gibson in the top of the first inning then retired every ensuing hitter while striking out six.

North Pulaski got 11 hits off Pulaski Academy pitcher Tory Seals. The Lady Bruins also committed five errors, three at third base.

The non-conference blowout followed a 5A-Southeast Conference split with Crossett on Tuesday.

“She did a good job,” Lady Falcons coach Ann Tharp said of Bains’ one-hitter. “I asked her before the game to improve on errors, because we had one bad inning down at Crossett.

“That was one of our goals for this game was no errors.”

Junior first baseman Kelsey Whitmore handled the brunt of the defensive workload for the Lady Falcons.

Whitmore caught a line drive from Becky Prince in the top of the first and made an unassisted play on Gina Kirsht’s grounder in the top of the third to end the inning.

She cleanly fielded six other Pulaski Academy grounders.

Whitmore also hit a game-winning, three-run home run against Crossett.

The Lady Falcons added to their 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Alexis Hendricks singled up the middle and advanced to third on passed balls.

Whitmore reached when Pulaski Academy third baseman Lauren Lay committed a throwing error to second that allowed Hendricks to score, making it 3-0.

Whitmore scored when Shelby Floyd doubled to left, and Floyd made it 6-0 when she came home on a single to shallow left by Amber Kirchner.

Hendricks scored North Pulaski’s lone fourth-inning run when she singled and scored two batters later when cleanup hitter Heather Fleshman singled to left.

The Lady Falcons entered the bottom of the fifth needing three runs to end things early, and delivered.

Casey Mullen led off with a walk and scored on a series of passed balls with Lindsey Silvas at the plate. Silvas eventually hit to third, but Lay committed her third error with a high throw to first.

Julie Mullen singled from the bottom of the order to score Silvas, and leadoff hitter Haley Hudson advanced her to third on a bloop single behind second.

Hendricks ended it with a single up the middle to score Julie Mullen.