04/06/08 — Power-hitting Saints too much for Eastern Wayne

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Power-hitting Saints too much for Eastern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 6, 2008 4:35 AM

Experience comes slowly with costly mistakes.

Youth-laden Eastern Wayne and first-year head coach Tony Parrish learn that lesson each time they step onto the softball diamond this season. And during each outing, says Parrish along with opposing coaches, the Warriors show signs of improvement.

That's one positive Parrish can spin from a 15-2 defeat against power-hitting Southern Wayne on Friday evening. Seven of nine Saints starters collected at least one hit in a season-high, 16-hit outing.

"I was glad to see that we didn't give up when we got down early," said Parrish. "I challenged the girls to pull together and keep playing. We just didn't quit."

Despite sweeping the regular-season series, the Saints needed seven innings to put away the Warriors. Carrie Adams' third-inning RBI single spoiled Lauren Darden's shutout bid. Allison Sutton's fifth-inning, lead-off double led to Eastern Wayne's second run, which negated the 10-run mercy rule after five innings.

Sutton, a sophomore, scored both Warrior runs.

"I don't think you ever step on the field and take anybody lightly," said first-year Saints head coach Michael Wiggs. "This is a much-, much-improved Eastern Wayne crowd. If you step onto the field and the first two or three innings you don't do a lot, it's a confidence builder for your opponent.

"We approach each game that there is a job to get done."

Senior outfielder Brianna Lofton deflated Eastern Wayne with a lead-off homer in the opening inning. Warrior right-hander Lani Fricks just missed catching Lofton looking at a third-strike changeup.

Lofton rode the next pitch over the center-field fence for her second homer of the season, and Saints' third overall. Lofton has cranked out five extra-base hits in her last two outings.

"They're a good-hitting ball team and their first five batters are tough," said Parrish. "There's no where to put them (on base)."

Senior shortstop Alyssa Bradshaw and senior catcher Lindsey Pearsall each batted 4-for-5 with a combined three extra-base hits. Bradshaw plated three runs, while Pearsall slugged a lead-off, third-inning home run -- her second of the season.

Morgan and Meredith Davis, who bat fifth and sixth, respectively, in the lineup, combined for three hits and three RBI. Meredith doubled twice. Jordan Hill, the No. 9 batter, added a two-RBI double and drove in three runs.

The Saints batted a collective .444 (16-for-36) against Fricks, who walked seven and posted two strikeouts in a complete-game effort. The Warriors also committed five errors which led to six unearned runs.

"We're swinging the bats," said Wiggs.

Meanwhile, Darden (9-1) permitted two runs (one earned) on three hits and struck out 11 Warrior batters in the pitcher's circle. Darden retired 13 of the final 15 batters, including nine straight, during the last four-plus innings.

Southern Wayne (9-1 overall) remained perfect in four Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference outings this season. Eastern Wayne dropped to 4-11 overall and 0-6 in the league.