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Lady Cats blast West Washington, 18-2

April 28, 2010
After getting down early to the visiting Lady Senators of West Washington April 19, the Lady Cats of North Harrison roared back in a big way with what is believed to have been the first back-to-back home runs in school history for an 18-2 spanking in five innings.

North Harrison’s Alyssa Price, left, exchanges high-fives with her teammates after belting the second of two Lady Cat home runs in the third inning of their 18-2 win over West Washington. Photo by Wade Bell
"The kids were on a pretty good high from the weekend," North Harrison coach John Lambert said. "We won our own invitational, and that was a good start for us. We had a couple of games last week that were kind of rough on us. We bounced back Saturday and played well. We came out tonight, and I thought we played really well again. We've got 14 kids on the roster, and all 14 kids saw playing time today."

Lambert, however, might have had a few questions going through his head during the first two innings. Both teams blanked out in the first, but the Lady Senators put two runs on the board in the top of the second. Cassie Conway was hit by a pitch and then scored on a one-out triple by Lauran Snelling, who then scored on a ground-out by Tori Brewer.

Down 2-0, North Harrison failed to score in the bottom of the inning. However, the Lady Cat defense held tough and kept the Senators from adding to their lead.

North Harrison coach John Lambert
"We've got a ways to go still, but it's turning," Lambert said. "I think we're turning the corner in the right direction. I don't think we're backtracking."

North Harrison turned a big corner in the bottom of the third. Alyssa McAfee led off with a double that was followed by a Melanie Johnson single. Then came the first big blast as Amber Longest ripped a ball over the left-center fence. Alyssa Price quickly followed with another home run in almost the same spot for a 4-2 Lady Cat lead.

Miranda Whelan ripped a single, and Brooke Lamon followed with a triple that scored Whelan. With one out, Brittany Sanders used a sacrifice bunt to score Lamon. Following a West Washington error that allowed Cassidy Bowyer to reach base, McAfee, making her second appearance at the plate in the inning, singled to score Bowyer. Johnson continued the roll with a double to score McAfee, and the Lady Cats led 8-2.

"I think North Harrison has never seen two kids go back-to-back for home runs ever," Lambert said. "It was exciting. It was very exciting to see them swing the bat and to time the pitcher in so well. The dugout was very alive. The kids were talking to each other at their at-bats. They were talking to each other on defense. Those were things that even last week we weren't doing very well."

West Washington threatened in the top of the fourth as Haley Geutig walked and stole second and third. She would go no farther, however, as North Harrison held the Lady Senators to three straight outs.

In the bottom of the inning, however, North Harrison ripped the Lady Senators for 10 runs and an 18-2 lead.

McAfee moved in to pitch for the final inning and held West Washington to four batters for the win.

"Tonight, we came out here and looked like a group of kids that were ready to go out and play softball," Lambert said. "I thought they did a very good job staying focused. We had some long innings. I thought they stayed focused through the innings. We had some good defense tonight."

North Harrison finished with 14 hits, including three each from McAfee and Johnson and two each from Whelan, Price and Sanders. Hurler Courtney Crone, who struck out four and walked two, got the win. McAfee, in relief, struck out two. North Harrison had just one error and left six runners on base.

"Courtney is throwing real well right now," Lambert said. "McAfee is throwing real well right now for us. I think you can pick out any kids in the dugout and tell them to go hit, and they're going to go up and battle at the plate, at least make contact, and that's what we're after. We don't have to hit home runs. We don't even ask them to swing for doubles. We just ask them to make good contact, and it's coming along."

West Washington managed just one hit, that one coming from Keisha Parks. Pitchers Stevie Ragains and Geutig combined for three strikeouts, five walks and one hit batter. West Washington committed four errors and stranded four runners.

"We've got a team with two seniors, two juniors and the rest are freshmen and sophomores," Lambert said. "They're learning and in some of their games they're learning by hard knocks. In other games, they're coming out and getting comfortable, and I think as the season's moved on, we've got more and more comfortable and they're starting to play a lot better ball. They're starting to play the way I was envisioning the way I was seeing this team play at the beginning of the season."

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