03/09/11 — Pivotal miscues hurt Saints

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Pivotal miscues hurt Saints

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 9, 2011 1:47 PM

DUDLEY -- Every game is a lesson learned.

This one stung a little bit, though.

Uncharacteristic early-inning defensive mistakes allowed perennial 2-A softball powerhouse South Lenoir to take a commanding lead, and cruise to an 11-0, five-inning victory over Southern Wayne on Tuesday afternoon.

The Blue Devils, who finished third in the state last season, plated eight unearned runs courtesy of seven Saints errors.

"(Errors) concern me," said Southern Wayne head coach Michael Wiggs. "If we step on the field with a different attitude, the physical and mental (side) will take care of itself. You practice for perfection and play for perfection, so that you minimize your mistakes.

"A little defensive support is what we're looking for right now."

South Lenoir's first two batters reached on errors to start the game. Winning pitcher Taylor Sandlin cleared the bases with a three-run home run. Three additional hits, another error, a wild pitch and walk put the Saints in a 7-0 hole before their first at-bat.

The Devils collected a second-inning run on three straight singles, which chased starting right-hander Morgan Best from the pitcher's circle. Junior Madison Davis, a three-year starter, retired three of four batters she faced to escape further damage.

Davis yielded three fourth-inning runs (one earned) on three errors and a wild pitch.

"I told the girls I will take the blame for digging a hole, but at the same time, sometimes you don't understand why coaches make the decisions they make," said Wiggs. "Sometimes we go through these struggles and valleys to realize we have to get more mature and tougher, and that's pretty much where we are at right now.

"We're learning a lot, growing a lot and I'm hoping we'll learn to appreciate the success when it happens. We need a little more grit, a little more umph to us."

Sandlin threw a two-hitter in the mercy rule-shortened affair. The right-hander logged six strikeouts and one walk, and benefited from a first-inning double play.

Andrel Morris and Hope Rose each batted 1-for-2 for the Saints.

"We played a little different lineup, but at the same time we should have hit the ball better than we did tonight," said Wiggs. "We've got a group that can swing the bats. Conference (play) is coming up, so we have to get these (young) girls playing and thinking a little bit."

The Saints entertain defending Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season champion Triton on Friday.