WHITE HALL – In their first true test of the season, the White Hall Lady Bulldogs shutout the Sheridan Lady Yellowjackets 3-0 at home Tuesday afternoon.
Abby Weaver pitched four hitless innings, striking out four and walking two. Lauren Graves closed out the final three innings allowing just one hit with four strikeouts and two walks.
“We got three pitchers that can start,” White Hall head coach Terri Smith said. “…We just got to work through it, until we decided what makes us the strongest defensively.
“… Until then, they are all going to work.”
White Hall (2-0) scored two runs in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a pair of errors by Sheridan.
Bethany Brown reached on an error by the third baseman to begin the inning. She moved to third on a double by Weaver and later scored thanks to an error at first base.
The second error allowed Kayla Reep to reach safely and put runners at the corners with one out. A sacrifice fly by Emily Law scored Weaver from third and it gave White Hall a 2-0 lead.
“We didn’t back Morgan (Burke) up very well,” Sheridan head coach Eddie Woodall said. “We made a few booboos at the wrong time and they seem to get that hit when we made the booboos.
“Truthfully, they had opportunities to get several more runs, but we did a real good job in a couple innings.”
Morgan Burke was tagged with the loss for Sheridan (1-1) after allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts in four innings.
Sheridan’s Sydney Bonner had an infield single with one out in the top of the sixth for the Lady Jackets’ only hit of the game.
“I don’t remember but us getting one hit and it wasn’t much,” Woodall said.
The only other team Sheridan has faced this season is 3A opponent Cutter Morning Star. Woodall said his team was just not ready for White Hall’s level of pitching.
“We haven’t seen anything like that yet,” Woodall said. “We couldn’t do much with it all.
“They hit quite a bit better than we did. Plain and simple, they just outplayed us.”
Sheridan, which made it to the 6A semifinals last season, had an opportunity to tie the game in the top of the seventh.
With one out, Corbin Talbert and Olivia Reed reached on a pair of walks and moved to second and third on a ground out. But a strikeout issued by Graves ended the game.
“We were just not ready to play with that level of pitching,” Woodall said. “That’s the only answer I can give.
“We will get there. We are not there yet. We got work to do.”
The Lady Bulldogs – who have won consecutive 5A state titles – scored an insurance run in the top of the fifth. Brown led off the inning with a single and a double by Weaver put the runners at second and third with nobody out. Sheridan brought in Bonner for relief, but senior Maddie Martin hit a bloop single over the left side to score Brown.
“We don’t care how pretty it is or how ugly, as long as we score,” Smith said. “That’s what we work for.
“You can’t win if you don’t have any runs.”
Brown finished 1 for 3 with two runs scored and Weaver led the way with two doubles.
Sheridan will face defending 3A state champion Benton Harmony Grove on Friday. The Lady Jackets will then compete in the Drew Melton Tournament in Benton on Saturday.
White Hall will face Siloam Springs on Friday in the first round of the tournament.