EARLY— The Early Lady Horns remain atop the District 6-3A softball standings after shutting out the Bangs Lady Dragons, 10-0, in a six-inning run-rule contest Thursday night.
Early (14-3, 7-0) played small-ball until a six-run sixth inning closed the door on a rally by Bangs (10-9, 2-5).
“Bangs had a few errors, which cost them a few runs, but they played a good game overall,” said Early third baseman Sydnee Shea, who went 3-for-3 while driving in a team-leading three RBIs. “We just hit into gaps where they could not get them.”
While previously surviving on the big-run inning for much of this season, small-ball bunts, well-placed grounders and fly balls were the strategy Thursday night.
The Lady Horns jumped out to an early lead after Shea rounded the bases after an errant pick off to first. In the third, Kailee Love’s hard grounder plated shortstop Emma Connelly. Sacrifice flies by Vance-Cady Gordon and Alexa Portillo in the fourth and fifth inning took the lead to 5-0.
First baseman Emily Rodriguez setoff a six-run sixth inning with an RBI single. A few pitches later, Shea drove in two and rounded the bases once more on an inside-the-park home run.
“She’s our hard hitter and anything that comes off her bat is going to be hot,” Early coach Alfonso Chavez said. “That is why we want her at the top of the lineup. We want her at bat as much as possible.”
Also in the sixth, pitcher MaKayla DeLeon took a break from her seven-strikeout performance to drive in a run on a triple, then a liner by Jenna Whitehead drove in DeLeon to seal the game 10-0.
“MaKayla is going to be MaKayla no matter what,” Chavez said. “She had 20 strikeouts Tuesday and she just picked up where she left off today. She was hurt and now she’s a lot fresher coming back. She has only pitched 11 games this season. It’s just her rhythm and mechanics coming back.”
Early will host Coleman (6-15, 2-5) at 5 p.m. today and Bangs will visit Dublin (3-17, 2-5) at the same time.