03/18/12 — Warren extends Warriors' slump

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Warren extends Warriors' slump

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 18, 2012 1:52 AM

Southern Wayne head softball coach Michael Wiggs finally saw his team play seven complete innings Friday afternoon.

The Saints had near-perfect pitching, timely hitting and flawless defense which made Wiggs think, 'man, where has this been all season?'

Freshman Haley Warren threw an efficient complete-game, one-hit shutout as Southern Wayne blanked county rival Eastern Wayne, 7-0, in an Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference affair. Warren retired the final 12 batters she faced and threw to 23 hitters overall -- two more than the minimum for a seven-inning game.

A right-hander, Warren threw 85 pitches and logged six strikeouts inside the pitcher's circle. She coaxed Eastern Wayne into six groundouts, five infield pop-ups and allowed just four balls -- all flyouts -- to leave the infield.

"Haley pitched a heckuva game," Wiggs said. "We've struggled all year long getting the pitches in the hitting zone, they've been up. She did a great job today of working locations, changing speeds and keeping balls down.

"You're not going to get hurt too much down. You may once in a while, but you'll get some ground balls and weak fly balls down low. She pitched from the knees down and hat's off to her."

Warren yielded a lead-off single to Debbie Mitchell in the second inning, and issued a lead-off walk to Rachel McCullom in the fourth. The Warriors entered the game hitting .180 as a team, and that average dropped after a collective 2-for-22 outing against Warren.

"We haven't hit all year," Warriors head coach Tony Parrish said. "S-L-U-M-P ... capital letters, boldface and it's catching on (throughout the team.) Hitting is contagious ... if you hit and then I hit. But when you're not hitting, I guess it's the opposite.

"Right now we're in a slump, but we're gonna keep working."

Southern Wayne (3-6 overall, 1-2 ECC) notched the lone run it needed in the second inning. Senior Madison Davis dropped a single into left field, swiped second base and scored on Taylor Davis' one-out single to nearly the same spot.

An infield error by Eastern Wayne (1-7, 0-3) opened the door for a four-run, third-inning uprising. Davis drew a bases-loaded RBI walk, and sophomore Claire Kennedy mashed a two-RBI single that bounced into right field past second baseman Sara Rice, who dove and just missed stopping the ball.

The Saints added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings against Warrior right-hander Rachel McCullom, who endured her second mound loss of the season. The freshman yielded nine hits in a 127-pitch outing.

"This is what we've been battling the last three years to get to this point, but couldn't get over the hump," Wiggs said. "I don't think we're over the hump yet. We swung the bats through the lineup and made some things happen. I've told these girls all along you can't wait for things to happen, you've got to come out with fire and intensity to make things happen.

"Today, we did."