Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> LHS ladies rout LRC softball in non-league

Leader sportswriter

Little Rock Central scored one run in the top of the first inning of Monday’s nonconference game against Lonoke, but the Lady Jackrabbits responded with 16 unanswered runs over three innings to get a 16-1 mercy-rule win over the visiting Class 7A Lady Tigers.

Central’s two-hole hitter was the game’s first base runner. She was hit by a pitch in the top of the first inning. She then stole second base and scored on the same play because of an errant throw from behind the plate.

The Lady Tigers didn’t score again, and it was all Lonoke (2-4) after that. Central struggled to find the strike zone throughout the game. Valerie Staton and Molly Harrison both walked to start the bottom of the first, and pitcher and three-hole hitter Madison Pool drove the game-tying run in with a RBI single to center field.

Staton scored on the play, and Harrison scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. Cleanup hitter Jarrelyn McCall walked after Pool’s base hit. She advanced to second on a passed ball, and Lindsey McFadden, Pool’s courtesy runner, and McCall both crossed the plate on a single to center field by Trinity Foley.

Foley was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double, but the two-RBI hit put Lonoke up 4-1. Madison Crow was hit by a pitch the next at-bat, and catcher Candace James followed that with a fly ball to right field that was dropped. Because of the drop, Crow and James advanced to second and third base.

Mary Katherine Sumner popped out to the pitcher for the second out of the inning, but Crow scored shortly after on a passed ball to give the Lady Jackrabbits a 5-1 lead. Sarah Rinsch, James’ courtesy runner, advanced to third on the play.

Madison McFadden walked the following at-bat, putting runners at the corners with two outs. Madison McFadden, one of the more fleet-footed players on the team, stole second with Staton back at the plate. The throw to second wouldn’t have been in time anyway, but it was wide to the right side of the base, and that allowed Rinsch and Madison McFadden to score on the play and give Lonoke a 7-1 cushion.

Staton walked that at-bat, but Harrison lined out the next at-bat to end the inning with Lonoke leading 7-1. Pool retired the side in the top of the second, and the Lady Rabbits got back to work in the bottom half of the inning, scoring four more runs to take a comfortable 11-1 lead.

Pool walked to lead off the bottom of the second. Lindsey McFadden once again came in to run for Pool. She stole second and third base on the same play because of an errant throw to second, and she scored on a sacrifice groundout to first by McCall.

McCall’s RBI put Lonoke up 8-1, and Foley followed with her second hit of the game – this one a double to shallow left field. Crow then hit into a 1-5 fielder’s choice, but the throw to third wasn’t in time, leaving both runners safe at the corners.

James took a pitch in the middle of her back the next at-bat, loading the bases, and Foley scored Lonoke’s ninth run on another passed ball. A strikeout followed for the second out of the inning, but the Lady Rabbits added two more runs on their next scoring play.

Crow scored Lonoke’s 10th run on a wild pitch. Rinsch ran to third on that play, and also took home because of Central’s lackadaisical effort getting the ball back to the circle. Madison McFadden struck out swinging the next at-bat, but the ball was dropped by the Lady Tigers’ catcher.

As Madison McFadden ran to first, the throw from the backstop was off, and the Lady Rabbit junior speedster went all the way to third on the errant throw. With Staton at the plate, Madison McFadden took a big lead down the third baseline after a pitch.

The Central catcher came up throwing, and the junior outfielder took off for home as the throw went to third. The throw back to the plate was in time and accurate, though, resulting in the third out of the inning. But the damage had been done, as Lonoke led 11-1 after two.

Central did threaten in the top of the third. The Lady Tigers had runners at the corners with two outs and their cleanup hitter at the plate, but a fly out to left field ended the top of the third with the score still 11-1.

Lonoke’s first two batters reached base in the bottom of the third, and Pool drove in Staton with a standup double to deep left center. Harrison went to third on the play, and Lindsey McFadden came back in to run for Pool.

McCall then hit a routine ground ball to shortstop that was cleanly fielded, but the throw to first was way off, allowing Harrison and Lindsey McFadden to both score and further Lonoke’s lead to 14-1.

Foley singled to the right-field gap for her third hit of the day, and Crow advanced her to second with a sac bunt. James also bunted, but an errant throw to first left all runners safe. Sumner walked the following at-bat, and Madison McFadden hit into a fielder’s choice at second base, but again all runners were safe, and Foley crossed the plate on that play to give LHS a 15-1 lead with two outs.

Staton then singled to right field, which drove in Rinsch to end the game because of the 15-run lead after three innings sportsmanship rule.

Pool got the win in the circle. She gave up just one hit in the three innings of work, finishing with three strikeouts while issuing two walks.

The Lady Jackrabbits had seven hits against Central. Foley led the way, going 3 for 3 with two singles, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Pool was 2 for 2 with a single, a double and two RBIs. Staton and Harrison each had a single and two runs scored.

Lonoke resumed 4A-2 Conference play last night at home against Riverview after deadlines. The Lady Rabbits play another conference game tomorrow at 4:30 at Helena-West Helena Central before hosting the 2016 Lady Rabbit Invitational Friday and Saturday at the Lonoke Ballpark.

The Lady Rabbits’ first game of their tournament will be against Carlisle at 6:45 p.m. Friday. The winner of that game will play the Hazen/Bradford winner in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and the championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday.