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Lady Lion softball splits Friday home tournament games

After Mother Nature shut down the Ennis Tournament on Thursday, Friday brought both highs and lows for Lady Lion softball.
Ennis (6-1) suffered a tough upset loss to the Mabank Panthers after a forgettable first inning, and then managed to pull out a gritty comeback victory against a strong 5A Georgetown Eagles squad. As troubling as the Mabank loss was, the win over Georgetown was equally inspiring.

Ennis 3
Mabank 5
The Lady Lions were the better team over the last six innings, but a brutal first inning saw the Panthers jump out to a 4-0 lead. Ennis committed fewer errors (3-1) and connected on more hits (8-6), but wasn’t able to overcome loading the bases three different times with one run to show for it.
“We weren’t ready to play and Mabank was,” said coach Rodney McNeill.
“If we’d shown up, it wouldn’t even be a contest. You can’t ease into a ballgame like we did.
“It’s hard to overcome four runs in the first inning. We outplayed them from there, but never showed the same intensity we had in the [Georgetown] game.”
Tori Davis (double, single) and Kaylee Adamcik (two singles) led Ennis with two hits apiece. Kaitlyn Colunga and Sara Fincher each produced a single and an RBI, while Brittani Zhanel and Calleigh Morales each singled. Whitney Quick (0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 W) started the game, though Davis (7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 W, 5 SO) went the distance in the circle.
Mabank pounded out four of its hits in the first, highlighted by a two-RBI double and a two-RBI single. Adamcik was the only Lady Lion to reach base in the bottom of the inning with her bunt single.
Davis owned the Panthers over the next two innings with six-consecutive forced groundouts as she and shortstop Morales each made a pair of plays. Ennis loaded the bases in the second, but was unable to score, as Colunga’s single to left was the lone hit.
In the Lady Lion third, Adamcik reached on an error and scored on a passed ball after Davis singled. Davis managed to score on Fincher’s RBI fly to left that was dropped for a 4-2 game, but the first of several baserunning mistakes on the day would cost the home team a chance to narrow the gap.
“On some of the baserunning mistakes we made the right decision, but made it too late,” McNeill said.
“This team does a better job of going for the extra base than any team I’ve had here, but today we just couldn’t get out of our own way at times. Kaylee is starting to get comfortable, her stats are great and she’s a threat once she gets on base.”
Both teams went quietly in the fourth. Davis struck out a pair and Fincher snagged a liner at second, while a Zhanel hit was all for Ennis in the bottom of the inning.
A walk and a single set the table for Mabank’s final run in the fifth as an RBI fielder’s choice did the trick. Davis drove a double to deep left field in the Ennis fifth and Colunga’s RBI sac fly finalized the score as baserunning mishaps continued to prove costly.
“I knew it was only a matter of time before Tori got going because I know she’ll always compete out there,” the coach said.
“We missed Emily’s (Rejcek) bat today and her return will solidify our batting order.”
Morales and Adamcik delivered consecutive singles in the sixth and Fincher singled in the seventh, yet Mabank held on for the improbable win.

Ennis 2
Georgetown 1
A 2-1 softball game usually means a meeting of two quality teams, which was the case in a big win for the Lady Lions. Georgetown struck first in the fourth inning, but couldn’t get out of the sixth with the lead. Both teams committed three errors as Ennis tallied more hits (7-5).
“If you put Georgetown in our district, I’ll bet they’d be the odds-on favorite and I think they’re a complete team,” McNeill said.
“This win tells me a lot about the level we can play at. We’re still developing an identity as our new players show what they can do.”
Freshman Morales stole the show with a big leadoff double and the game-winning two-RBI single. Davis (double, single) and Colunga (two singles) each found success at the plate while Zhanel singled as well. Zhanel (7 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 3 W, 10 SO) was quite impressive in the circle against a stout batting lineup.
Though Georgetown opened the game with a single and benefited from an error, the Ennis defense rose up to prevent another early breakdown as third baseman Samantha Cox hauled in a line drive and second baseman Fincher made a nice running grab in foul territory. Morales smacked a big double to open the Ennis first and Adamcik reached on an error, yet Georgetown got out of danger.
While Colunga led off both the second and fourth innings with singles and Davis doubled to open the third, Ennis didn’t get any runs to show for it as a double play and another baserunning miscue hurt its cause.
“Kaitlyn’s production at the plate is so much better this year and teams aren’t going right at her like they used to,” McNeill said.
After loading the bases in the third, Georgetown led off its fourth inning with a double and managed to score its lone run on a passed ball before consecutive Zhanel strikeouts got her team off the field.
“Kaitlyn has really improved as far as reducing passed balls [at catcher], but you have to stay alert all the time back there,” the coach said.
“Brittani didn’t hit all of her spots, but she had a look of determination to compete and the team fed off of that. I’m really pleased with her offense so far too.”
While Zhanel continued to excel with consecutive strikeouts in the fifth, Ennis left the bags packed once again in its fifth as a Davis single was the lone hit. Zhanel retired the Eagles in order during the sixth and then kickstarted her team’s offense in the bottom of the inning with a line single up the middle.
Madalyn Zapletal walked and both runners advanced a base on a passed ball, setting the stage for Morales. The youngster rose to the occasion with a two-RBI fly single to right that fell just between a pair of charging Eagles, vaulting Ennis in front.
“Unlike most freshmen, I don’t think the situation is ever too big for Calleigh,” McNeill said.
“She doesn’t worry about what might go wrong and just stays calm. She also made a lot of plays defensively and is a pleasure to coach. I was frustrated with all the runners we left on base in both games, but the girls didn’t give up and kept knocking on the door.”
“We were a little down from the [Mabank] game and Georgetown looked good, but we really started hitting to get the win,” Zhanel added.
“Calleigh has been doing really good at shortstop and hitting well too.”
On their last leg, the Eagles produced a double in the seventh, but Zhanel wasn’t going to be denied as she forced a popup and fanned two more batters to seal the win.
“[Georgetown] was a good hitting team, so I had to hit my pitches and keep them off balance,” Zhanel said.
“You definitely do get cold out there pitching. I just tried to keep my hands warm and grip the ball tighter, but I’m used to pitching in weather like this. We need to improve our first innings so we don’t have to play catch-up in the middle innings.”
The Lady Lions wrapped up their tournament with a pair of Saturday games and those results will appear in Tuesday Sports.

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Posted by on Feb 25 2008. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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