Lady Rams roll by HCHS

Published 2:20 pm Saturday, March 20, 2010

AHOSKIE – A six-run third inning explosion – where they sent 10 batters to the plate – helped power Ridgecroft School’s softball team to an 18-4 win over Hertford County Thursday evening.

Backed up by the 10-strikeout pitching of Mary Kate Morris and Erin Cooke in relief, the Lady Rams banged out a dozen hits enroute to the win. Cooke also scored four runs and drove in two. At the plate, Lauren Colson went 2-for-3 and scored twice, while Tayler Smith also drove in a pair of runs.

“We just tried to get a lot of work in,” said Ridgecroft coach Larry Smith. “Hertford County’s a bit inexperienced this year and their pitchers are young so we just got a big lead, got a lot of our players in and tried to get some work from them.”

Ridgecroft (3-1) struck first in the top of the first inning.

With two out, Smith drew a walk and came home on Morris’ solid single deep to right field for the first score of the game. Morris then took to the rubber and retired the Lady Bears in the bottom of the frame with a pair of strike outs and a pop-up back to the pitcher.

The Lady Rams picked up four more runs in the bottom of the second. With one out, two base hits and a couple of walks plated a pair of runs before Emily Cooke sent another run home with a single and scored later on a wild pitch to make it 5-0, Ridgecroft.

Ridgecroft really broke things open in the third. A one-out walk by Bryce Harrison and a hit by Colson put runners on first and second. Lindsay Jacob then drew a base-on-balls to load the bases. Harrison scored on a wild pitch before Erin Cooke doubled deep into the gap in left field to bring in two more runs.

Ahead 8-0, Cooke went to third thanks to a passed ball then came home on a wild pitch. Back-to-back walks put two more Ridgecroft runners on base before Sara Hackney singled to drive in another run while Smith’s deep fly-out to left field brought in another for an 11-0 lead.

The Lady Rams looked like they would add to their lead when Hackney stole second, and went to third on Morris’ ground out. However, she was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice.

Morris finished her evening of pitching by retiring the Hertford County side in order in the bottom of the third.

Coach Larry Smith then began substituting and Ridgecroft got five more runs in the top of the fourth. The big blow coming on Smith double that scored Emily Cooke and Amber Bracy with the final two runs of the inning to make it 16-0.

Hertford County (1-4) finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Trailing 18-0 Olivia Edwards and Deondra Morrison got back-to-back walks. Edwards moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on another errant toss to finally get the Lady Bears on the scoreboard.

Tiffany Pierce broke up the no-hitter with one out, sending a bloop single to shallow right field. Jaleesa Chinn followed with the second hit of the game and Hertford County’s lone RBI thanks to a hot grounder between second and third to score Morrison.

Laurie Henderson walked before Brittany Pierce got a single to load the bases and Heaven Rushing reached on a fielder’s choice as Chinn was thrown out at the plate by Nikki Smith. Erin Cooke then ended the bases-loaded threat with the final strike out to also end the game.

“This makes the second game of three we’ll play in three days,” said Hertford County coach Darryl McCallop. “While we’re trying to develop out pitching, I try to stress to the girls to play good defense and we’re doing a pretty good job so far. This is the best we’ve hit the ball all year.

“I think after this week,” he added with a grin, “that they’ve earned a day off.”