By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
HATLEY – Baldwyn’s goal going into Thursday’s opener of the Class 2A North fastpitch softball finals was to find a way to get some hits off Hatley starting pitcher Lesley Hudson.
They managed 10 of those, but Hudson’s defense backed her up, and the Lady Tigers’ bats came alive for 16 hits to take an 8-4 win in Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
“We gave up too many runs,” Baldwyn coach Jessica Taylor said. “We calculated about five unearned runs. I thought we beat ourselves.”
Hudson (22-2) worked out of having baserunners on in several innings, including the first when Baldwyn got on the board with Sheneria Tyes’ two-out, solo home run. Starting pitcher Savannah Alexander walked, but Hudson struck out Haley Sandlin to end the inning.
“It really wasn’t a matter of my pitching tonight,” Hudson said. “The defense and our bats came alive tonight, and that’s what won it for us.”
Hatley fought back in the bottom of the first when Courtney Roberts, who went 3 for 4, lead off with a single and came home on a wild pitch. Jamelle Vance, who had reached base on an error, scored on Kelsey Wilson’s bunt single.
Baldwyn tied it up in the second on Maggie Martin’s fielder’s choice that scored MacKenzie Riley, but the Lady Tigers plated three runs in both the third and fourth innings. In the third, Wilson’s sacrifice fly knocked in Vance, while Katy Duling and Mary Reeves hit RBI singles. DeAnna Wright’s RBI double in the fourth sent home Roberts, and Mallory Ashcraft’s double, her third hit of the night, sent home Wright and Wilson.
“We hit quite a few balls hard tonight,” Hatley coach Chris George said. “That was impressive, especially with how we’ve played in the last two series.”
Hudson, who struck out two, also went 3 for 4 on the night and said she was feeling good at the plate.
“I had a rough week last week at East Webster,” she said. “We had a batting party last night, grilled hot dogs and hit for about three hours, and I felt a lot better.”
Hatley and Baldwyn will meet for Game 2 at Baldwyn at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“We have to come out and make routine plays in the next game,” Taylor said. “Hatley is going to hit the ball. They’re going to put the ball in play, and you have to take the outs they give you.”