In a 2-2 game entering the fifth inning, the White Hall Lady Bulldogs exploded for five runs on six hits in the inning and held on for a 9-4 win in 5A-South Conference action at Monroe-Ryburn Field on Friday.
“Patience in the batting box,” White Hall head coach Terri Smith said when asked about what changed the Lady Bulldogs’ approach to the plate. “I told them we just need to watch and be selective with our hitting. Just because it’s a strike, doesn’t mean you have to hit that one. If it’s not the pitch you’re looking for, then that’s not the one you need to be hitting.”
Entering the fifth, White Hall (15-5, 9-1 5A-South) finally got to Watson Chapel starting pitcher Lexie Downing. Back-to-back singles put two on and nobody out and an RBI double from Summer Henderson helped reclaim the lead for the Lady Bulldogs.
On the next at bat, Abby Weaver hit a line shot to Morgan Carter in right field as the ball bounced off her glove, allowing two runs to score. Carter was able to recover and gunned down Weaver at third base. After White Hall put two more on with singles, a passed ball allowed the runners to get into scoring position. After a line out, Lindsey Williams delivered a huge blow when she smacked a two-RBI single into right-center field.
“We had some outfield problems that hurt us bad,” Watson Chapel head coach Traci Easter said. “There were two or three but (we didn’t lose) just on that. We didn’t get some hits when we needed them.”
White Hall starting pitcher Lauren Graves pitched a complete game,allowing nine hits and four runs (three earned) with two walks and eight strikeouts.
“I think (Graves) did really well,” Smith said. “(Watson Chapel) got some good hits off her and they played a really good ballgame. She didn’t panic and give up and she held her own and stayed in there. She showed maturity.”
In the sixth inning with a 7-3 lead, designated player Sydney Shelton stepped up with one out and launched a solo homer over the left field fence to extend the Lady Bulldogs lead to 8-3. Shelton led the Lady Bulldogs with a 2-for-3 performance with a run scored and an RBI.
“(Shelton) always wonders why she doesn’t get to run bases,” Smith said with a laugh. “I told her she finally got to run some bases. She has stepped up and has been doing really well the last couple of ballgames. She is coming along quite well and she can spark a fire really quick if she gets on base.”
Watson Chapel (12-9, 7-4) had plenty of opportunities to score more runs but left 10 runners on base throughout the game. Bases were full in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“We scored first and I was pleased with that,” Easter said. “Our girls stayed up (energetically) and I think we dropped down a little bit. We have been playing games where they just quit and we didn’t do that (Friday), so I’m very proud of them. They stayed in the ballgame and didn’t just fall down and die. I’m proud of them.”
Kayla Reap helped the Lady Bulldogs with a 3-for-4 day with a run scored, and Williams led the team with two RBIs. Downing finished 3 for 4 with a run scored and Sydney Crossett added a 1-for-2 performance with a run scored and an RBI to lead the Lady Wildcats.