EARLY — For Early, Tuesday’s softball game was one to remember for a multitude of reasons. Not only did the Lady Horns beat district rival Coleman, they did so in dominating fashion, allowing only one run and putting on an offensive clinic to end the game early, 11-1.
For one Early player, however, the game was even more memorable as she notched a rare pitching milestone.
The first inning of the game didn’t provide much action for either side, but in the second inning Makayla Deleon, who was the Lady Horns starting pitcher on the day, accomplished something many pitchers don’t come close to doing: she struck out her 500th batter over the course of her varsity career.
“I can’t believe it,” Deleon said of her accomplishment. “I knew I was close, but I wasn’t sure when exactly it was. To get 500 is a big honor, but I have to give credit to my team more than anything. Without them this wouldn’t have been possible. I’m so happy we’ve been able to accomplish all of this together.”
“Not many get to that number, so to know I did is something that I will always remember for the rest of my life. It’s a very big deal to me,” she added.
That feat got the Lady Horns (16-6, 3-0) defense going, but it seemed to provide a spark to the Early offense as well.
In the bottom of the second, Emma Loven scored due to a Coleman error after stealing third base. It was the only run scored that inning, but marked the beginning of many more to come.
Just one inning later, first baseman Ashlyn Kirby hit a ball that sailed out to right-center field and resulted in a RBI triple, allowing Laiken Reagan to score. At the very next at-bat, ShaunnaKay Connelly hit one down the left foul line and, after another Coleman error, Connelly hit a two-run inside the park home run, extending Early’s lead 4-0.
While the Lady Horns were now on a hot start, it was the fourth inning that was the proverbial final nail in the coffin.
Gabby Constancia hit an RBI single that gave Vance-Gady Gordon a chance to score. That followed with Constancia scoring after stealing second and third, followed by home due to a wild pitch.
Runs were then added thanks to Deleon, Reagan and Kirby yet again, who all hit RBI doubles. Once the trio was done batting in the fourth inning, Early lead Coleman 9-0.
Coleman did manage to put one run on the board in the top of the fifth, but RBIs by Sydnee Shea and again from Deleon gave the Lady Horns the 10-run mercy rule they needed to cut the game short.
“They did a phenomenal job,” said Early head coach Alfonso Chavez. “I’m very proud of the outcome. Of course we did great on offense, but it’s the defense I’m the most proud of. That’s what I’ve really stressed to them recently. We’ve worked very hard on improving our defense and today it showed. These girls are doing a great job and I couldn’t be more proud.”