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Lady Lions dominate DeSoto in first scrimmage, 8-0

Coach and player agreed that the Lady Lions have a long way to go before the regular season begins, but even in the infant stages of the 2007 campaign Ennis was way too much for DeSoto to handle on Monday night.
The Lady Lions scored two runs in the first and three runs in the eighth as they cruised to an 8-0 home win. With half of the lineup getting its first taste of varsity action, it was a great opportunity for players to state their case for a starting spot.
“At any given time tonight we had five or six freshmen and sophomores out there who are just trying to find their way on varsity,” said coach Rodney McNeill.
“They know the lineup isn’t set and are being good teammates by pulling for the people they’re competing against. DeSoto played pretty solid and didn’t make too many mistakes. Their pitcher would probably rank three or four in our district and she had decent speed, but hitters are always behind pitchers early in the season.
“We’ve got a new hitting style and this was the first time the girls could apply it in a game situation. I thought we loosened up in the middle innings and started popping the ball a little better. I want a more aggressive hitting approach than they’ve been taught in the past and it will take some adjustment.”
Tori Davis got the start in the circle and tossed a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in six innings of work. Brittani Zhanel worked through the final two innings as she allowed no hits with four strikeouts.
“My non-aggressive pitches that DeSoto wasn’t supposed to hit were being contacted, so I’m aware that I need to improve there,” Davis said.
“It’s too bad that Brittani only had two innings, but she came in and did her job really well. Our hitting eventually came around and we started playing with the energy that coach was looking for. It was a rusty start, but we’ll do well this year.
“Juniors and seniors are definitely trying to take a leadership role now that our team is a lot younger. Some of our new players were nervous, but they were able to overcome it and just play their game. We have a lot of responsibilities on this team and these scrimmages are good preparation for that.”
After being a strong defensive player for Ennis in 2006, Sara Fincher led the Lady Lions offensively on Monday night with two singles and an RBI. Emily Moser and Kaitlyn Colunga each delivered a single and an RBI to the winning cause.
“Sara has been excellent defensively for us since her freshman year, but she set a goal to become a key offensive player,” McNeill said.
“She’s working hard, taking a leadership role and did a good job tonight.”
Davis got off to a fast start in the first as she struck out three of the four batters she faced before leading off with a double down the right-field line in the bottom of the inning. She scored on a passed ball while Samantha Stampley drew a walk and scored on Fincher’s RBI single down the right-field line for a 2-0 advantage. Davis struck out two more in the second inning while Whitney Quick smacked a liner up the middle and scored on a passed ball for a 3-0 Ennis lead.
“Tori has proven what she can do at this level and I know she’ll be at her best when our season opener gets here,” McNeill said.
Ana Pedraza and Stampley each made defensive plays in the third while Moser singled in the bottom of the inning and scored on Colunga’s RBI single to left field to make the score 4-0. Moser will also be taking care of business behind the plate this season as far as McNeill is concerned.
“Emily has gotten reps at catcher for three years and she understands everything we’re trying to do defensively, including where her teammates need to be,” the coach said.
“She’s been a good leader so far and I’m very confident in her abilities.”
The fourth and fifth innings went quickly with no Ennis hits while Davis struck out three more batters. DeSoto loaded the bases in the sixth with a couple of singles and an error, but Davis kept the shutout going by striking out the final batter she faced to end the threat. Fincher reached base again in the bottom of the inning with a ground single up the middle and stole second before inning’s end.
Zhanel worked quickly through the seventh as she snagged a lineout and recorded a strikeout while Quick fielded a grounder at first. Samantha Cox smashed a triple down the right-field line in the bottom of the inning and managed to score on a close play at home after passed ball for a 5-0 lead. Zhanel was at her best in the eighth inning by striking out the side.
“Tonight was the first time I ever called pitches for Brittani and we visited ahead of time so I’d know what she likes to throw,” McNeill said.
“Her movement is good and she’s giving me confidence in her location so that I can set our defense accordingly. She wasn’t nervous and showed her teammates they can trust her.”
Stampley led off the bottom of the eighth with a single up the middle and advanced to second on an error. A hit by pitch and two more errors brought a trio of runs home, along with an RBI grounder by Moser, to seal the deal.
“Our pregame preparation could’ve been better and that’s on me, but we’ll correct that going forward,” the coach said. “As a whole, I like where the team is at early on in terms of understanding what we’re trying to do. Our thirtieth game will be our first district game, so our main focus is just to improve every time we take the field.”

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Posted by on Jan 30 2007. 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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