03/22/09 — Spartans capitalize on Eagles' youthful mistakes

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Spartans capitalize on Eagles' youthful mistakes

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 22, 2009 2:00 AM

Roger Longwell scribbled onto his pad as he watched every defensive play unfold against Kerr-Vance Academy on Friday afternoon.

"The learning curve continues," he thought to himself while the Spartans capitalized on his young Wayne Christian team. Kerr-Vance manufactured a 14-7, non-conference victory off 10 walks, four errors and 11 hits on a cool, breezy Friday afternoon.

"We have such a young group," said Longwell. "I'm not used to it, but I'm going to have to find ways of helping them. It's hard to defend a strikeout and hard to defend a walk.

"We probably could have kept the game closer than we did today."

Spartan right-hander Hailey Harris notched 18 strikeouts and permitted seven runs (five earned) on six hits. The junior lost her no-hit and shutout bid in the third inning. Carly Hightower swatted a one-out, two-strike double to left center and Blake Govan trotted home on a wild pitch.

Harris threw 71 strikes to 31 batters she faced.

"The first couple of innings, it was hard for us to catch up with her," said Longwell of Harris. "She had a screwball that moved up and in (on the batters). I thought she did very good and didn't throw much change.

"It was just hard for us to get off to a good start ... get anything going."

The Eagles (2-2 overall) got two hits apiece from Hightower (RBI) and first baseman Sarah McCullom (RBI). Reagan Hinton and catcher Courtney Barrow supplied one hit apiece.

Despite its defensive lapses, Wayne Christian turned two double plays.

"Offensively, I'm proud of them for hanging in there and doing the best they could," said Longwell. "Defensively, I was a little uneasy. I'm disappointed with some of the decisions that were made. We could have done some things better.

"Those are things that we have to work on in practice."

Harris supplied three doubles for the Spartans, who remained unbeaten in three outings this season. Peyton Shearin and Chelsea Hoffman added two hits apiece. The duo combined for two RBI.

Overall, all seven of nine Spartans in the starting lineup contributed at least one hit. Eagle right-hander Allyson Newsome, an eighth-grader, endured the mound loss with three-plus innings of work.