The Early High School Lady Longhorns picked up their first victory in Region 1 District 6 play after run-ruling Hamilton 17-1 Friday night.
A 10-strikeout performance by senior Laiken Reagan put the game in the hands of the Lady Horns' bats and they did not disappoint after a pair of four-run innings gave Early all the cushion they needed.
"Practice makes perfect and I've been practicing a long time," said Reagan, who spent the summer recovering from a knee injury she sustained against district rival Comanche while playing for the district title last season. "I had surgery June 6. I feel really good. I had a great recovery and a great surgeon so I'm super confident in what he did. I've always had confidence in myself and my abilities so it's great to have a comeback story."
Reagan's contribution came from both on the mound and in the batter's box, going 2-2 with 2 RBIs. Catcher Emma Loven drove in Early's first run o the day on a triple, then center fielder Alexis Portillo drove in Loven and a pair of past balls allowed the Horns to add two more to their lead. In the second, a two RBI triple by Reagan, and another RBI by Loven, gave Early all the cushion it needed to cruise to victory with a fifth inning run rule.
"We didn't really struggle with hitting, but it took time to get our bats going," said third baseman Sydnee Shea, who went 2-2 with an RBI. "It was a slower pitcher than what we were used to from tournament play. We hit really well compared to all of the practicing we've bee doing preparing for this kind of pitching ... Having these kinds of wins builds our confidence so we know the next time we play them we will have a chance against them. We can accomplish a lot with what we have."
With the win, the Horns even their district record at 1-1 following Tuesday's 10-2 loss to Eastland. Early will look to remain on the right side of the win column Monday when they head on the road to face Cisco. Although happy with the victory, Early coach Alfonso Chavez was not pleased with everything he saw Friday.
"We played kind of sloppy in my opinion and our base running was not what it should have been," Chavez said. "Hitting wise, slow pitching hurts us a little bit. We just need to take care of our end everything else will take care of itself. Right now, we can still get a ton better."