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Lady Lions ground 5A Ellison Eagles, 9-2

Ennis dominates after facing early deficit in tourney opener
One might think it would be tough for a freshman pitcher in her first varsity start to go out and beat a 5A team, but Kamren Bragg got it done on Thursday.
After allowing two runs in the first inning, Bragg (7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 6 W, 6 SO) blanked the Killeen Ellison Eagles the rest of the way in a 9-2 victory for the Lady Lions in the opener of their Ennis Tournament. Ennis (5-0) out-hit Ellison 13-4 and committed fewer errors (1-5).
“Kamren needs to get some innings and gain experience,” said coach Rodney McNeill.
“She needs the offense to support her, just as [ace] Brittani [Zhanel] will need help at times this season. So it was good to see several players step up with big games.”
To the coach’s point, five Lady Lions tallied at least two hits. Carli Bragg led the way with three bunt singles.
Ennis received two hits apiece from Abby Liska (double, single, 2 RBIs), Whitney Quick (double, single, RBI), Heather Fincher (2 singles, RBI) and Calleigh Morales (2 singles, RBI). Kaitlyn Colunga and Emily Ferguson each singled. Samantha Cox was busy at third base with seven defensive outs.
Kamren Bragg faced her greatest difficulty right out of the box despite garnering two quick outs with a Cox fielded groundout and the freshman’s first strikeout. From there, a double, a two-RBI single, a single and two walks enabled Ellison to go up 2-0. Shortstop Morales fielded a groundout with the bases loaded to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, Carli Bragg got her team going with a bunt single. With two outs, Colunga reached on an error as Bragg scored (1-2).
Quick’s RBI double off the left-field fence and Liska’s RBI single made it 3-2 through one. It was just Quick’s second game back from an injury.
“It felt good to get back out there with my team again,” Quick said.
“I really missed being able to drive some runs in and make good plays in the field, but I think I shook off the rust and I’m ready to get back out there. I’m not able to fully swing quite yet because I’m still a little nervous about my finger, so I was surprised to hit the ball that well.”
“Whitney is strong and she really hits the ball hard,” McNeill said.
“We need her offense.”
After nearly batting around in the first, the Eagles couldn’t do anything in the second inning as Cox’s glove sat the visitors down in order.
“Samantha is continuing to have a great defensive year over there at third base,” the coach said.
Ennis struck again with two outs in the bottom of the inning as Carli Bragg sparked her team with another bunt single. Fincher followed with an RBI single to right and Ferguson added her own single (4-2).
An Ellison leadoff bunt single in the third was rendered useless when first baseman Quick fielded a groundout and then quickly fired the ball over to Colunga at second for an impressive double play. Credit the Eagles for answering with their own double play in the bottom of the scoreless inning.
“We work on that play all the time in practice and it worked out great,” Quick said.
“I caught their runner off guard and Kaitlyn made the tag.”
“We’ve been working on that play for three years and we finally got an out on it,” McNeill added.
Kamren Bragg continued to roll through the game in the Eagle fourth outside of a single walk as Cox made a couple more plays while the pitcher notched a full-count strikeout.
“I think Kamren is growing and getting better,” the coach said.
“She’s developed a changeup this year and is working on some other pitches. Walks gave her a little bit of trouble, but as her confidence grows I think those walks will go down.”
In the Ennis fourth, Morales and Carli Bragg each singled. Morales would score on a passed ball for a 5-0 advantage.
“I want opposing coaches concerned about us on the bases and Calleigh is a big part of making that happen,” the coach said.
In the Ellison fifth, Kamren Bragg continued to give up no more than a walk as catcher Liska gunned down a baserunner with Colunga’s help at second to get her team off the field.
“I remember looking up and seeing she was going,” Liska said of the steal attempt.
“I’ve been working on that in practice a lot, so I was glad I finally did it in a real game. Hopefully I’ll keep making those plays. I miss [working with] Kamren, but she did good and it brought back memories [of us last spring as St. John teammates].”
“I got on Abby’s case about delayed steals against her, but after that I think she did a great job of expecting it,” McNeill added.
Ennis broke the game open in its fifth. Colunga led off with a single and Liska drilled an RBI double off the left-field fence two batters later (6-2).
“I just got up there and hit the ball,” Liska said about one of her many deep drives this season.
“I don’t try too hard because then you’ll strike out. It’s tough to just miss a homer like that, but as long as I keep making contact I have to be proud of myself. We see different pitchers with different speeds, but you just have to adjust up there.”
“At what point is it not an accident that Abby keeps beating that ball up?” McNeill added regarding his freshman standout.
“It won’t happen every time against tough pitching and it will depend how Abby handles that. Right now, she’s just crushing it.”
A pair of errors cost the Eagles a couple more runs, plus Morales added an RBI bunt single as Fincher connected on her own infield single (9-2).
With Ellison on the ropes, the rest of the contest was a mere formality. Quick tallied her team’s last hit in the sixth with a line single to left, while Kamren Bragg fanned a pair of Eagles in her seventh-and-final inning.
The Lady Lions had just a few minutes to catch their breath before hitting the field against the Dumas Demonettes.

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Posted by on Feb 27 2009. 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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