n They eventually get the drop on a pesky drop ball.
By Gene Phelps
BALDWYN – Belmont pitcher Harlee Lynch baffled Baldwyn’s batters with a change-up and drop ball for four consecutive innings Tuesday.
“She had our number,” Baldwyn coach Jessica Taylor said.
It took the Bearcats’ No. 9 batter, sophomore Desiree Grice, to figure out Lynch. Grice, who entered the game batting just .067, slapped an RBI single up the middle to cut the Lady Cardinals lead to 3-2.
Baldwyn’s bats continued to fire in the sixth inning as the Lady Bearcats scored three more runs and went on to capture the Division 2-2A opener for both teams, 5-3, at Latimer Park.
Kayleigh Bishop, Haley Hall and Genee Thomas all had singles in the decisive sixth inning for the winners. Mallory Hill and Oriana Smith added RBI sacrifice flies.
“It took us awhile to catch on to her, but I’m glad we did,” Taylor said of Lynch. “She was throwing hard, with movement, and was consistent.”
Grice’s base hit scored Thomas, who had opened the frame with the Lady Bearcats’ first safety off the extremely effective eighth grade right-hander. Thomas paced her team with two of its five hits.
“The pitch was a little high and outside, the kind I like,” Grice said. “(Lynch) had been putting it in there, but she slowed up a little bit.”
Lynch, who scattered five hits in the final two innings and struck out eight batters, admitted she got tired late.
“I’ve pitched every game we’ve played … you get tired,” she said. “Early in the game, my change-up and drop were working. At the end my pitches sort of flattened out.”
Baldwyn improved to 5-4 overall while Belmont remained winless at 0-8.
Belmont took a 2-1 lead in the third off a Baldwyn error and a steal of home by Anna Brooke Page. The Bearcats had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on a Cardinals’ error in the outfield.
Belmont made it 3-1 in the fourth on Lakyn Young’s two-out single off Baldwyn’s Kayla Carpenter. However, the Bearcats pitcher later escaped a bases-loaded jam in the frame with a strikeout.
Carpenter two-hit the Cardinals with six strikeouts. She suffer some control problems and as a result, walked eight.
The umpire “had a tight strike zone and she wasn’t used to that,” Taylor noted.
n Linescore, Page 2B