Ridgecorft ladies top NEA

Published 6:36 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2011

AHOSKIE – The Ridgecroft School softball team shook off a pair of losses to end last week and opened their final week of Tarheel Independent Conference play with a 10-0 victory over Northeast Academy.

Right-handed pitcher Mary Kate Morris got the one-hit shut out win in the circle and ended her career at home Wednesday against Hobgood Academy with 600 career strikeouts.  She posted 10 strikeouts in the Monday win.

Morris was also 2-for-3 at the plate while teammate Lauren Colson drove in three runs and four Lady Rams players scored at least two runs.

“We put the bat on the ball,” said first-year coach Nicole Hughes, “and the outcome was better.

“When we’re patient and drive the ball,” she added, “things work out for us.”

The Rams opened the scoring with an unearned run in the first inning.

With one out, Sara Hackney was hit by pitch. She then stole second base and went to third on an errant pickoff throw.

Morris followed with a walk and while she was thrown out trying to steal second base, the play allowed Hackney to score the first Rams run of the game.

Northeast’s best scoring threat came in the top of the second when Ashlyn Bridgers reached on an error, went to second on a passed ball and Robin Barnes got the only hit of the game off Morris: a one-out single to left that moved Bridgers to third.

However, Ridgecroft got the next two outs to keep the Eagles off the board.

Bailey Vann opened the bottom of the second frame with a base-hit that fell in short right field. The Rams later loaded the bases with one out, but Vann was cut down at the plate attempting to score on a passed-ball.

Later in the inning, Dana Vann came through with a single – also to right field – that scored Taylor McKeel to make it 2-0. Northeast escaped further damage when the inning ended on a bases-loaded ground out.

Morris got her first hit of the game in the bottom of the third, a shot down the third base line.  She went to second on a wild pitch and Emily Grace followed with a base-on-balls.

McKeel then sacrificed both runners to second and third and Colson delivered a single up the middle that plated both Morris and Grace and staked the Rams to a 4-0 count.

Ridgecroft put the game away in the bottom of the fourth when they sent a dozen ladies to the plate and scored six runs off just three hits. NEA helped the host’s cause by walking in three of those runs.

It allowed the game to end after just five innings and for Ridgecroft to post their eighth win of the year and fifth in the TIC while Northeast remained winless on the season.

“We opened the year making 15 errors,” said Northeast coach Joella  Brown, “got it down to eight and today made just that one error in the first inning.”

“Defensively, we’ve really improved,” she added. “Now we just need a pitcher who can get the ball consistently across the plate and we just didn’t hit today.”