DENVER â€” The Lincolnton Lady Wolves held the East Lincoln Lady Mustangs to no runs through the first three innings of Southern Piedmont Conference softball action on Tuesday.
In the bottom of the fourth, the floodgates opened and East Lincoln posted five runs, and added two more in the bottom of the fifth and one in the bottom of the sixth inning for an 8-0 shutout win.
East Lincoln pitcher Brittany Miller struck out eight Lincolnton batters without giving up a walk, and allowed four hits.
â€œAfter that first inning she settled down pretty good,â€ East Lincoln head coach Mike Freeman said. â€œIt usually takes her about an inning to get into the groove, and once she settles down sheâ€™s very good.â€
The Lady Wolves had baserunners on first and second in the top of the first inning. Kayla Quiley led off for Lincolnton and was able to reach first base on an East Lincoln error, and was moved to second base when Jessica Reed blasted a single down the third baseline. Courtney Campbell hit a pop up for an infield fly and Miller struck out two batters to end the inning and leave Quiley and Reed stranded.
The Lady Mustangs left two runners of their own on base in the bottom of the first. Haley Meza took a changeup from Lincolnton pitcher Sydney Devine to right field for a single, and after a pop-up out by Rachel Lane and a strike out by Taylor Wilson, Miller cracked a single of her own over the Lincolnton third basemanâ€™s head. Brittany Wayne hit a grounder to first base to end the inning.
East Lincoln left runners in scoring position again the bottom of the third.
Wayne started off the bottom of the fourth by reaching on an error by the Lincolnton second baseman, but was caught at second on a fielderâ€™s choice when Carly Johnson hit a grounder to short stop. Mckenna Jones then smashed a single that landed on the warning track and Brittany Dove was walked to load the bases.
Maddi Helms earned East Lincolnâ€™s first RBI with an infield single, and was able to beat the throw to first base to keep the bases loaded. Meza added three more runs with a three-RBI double deep to right center field to put East Lincoln ahead 4-0. Wilson hit an RBI single before Miller hit into a groundout to Devine to end the inning.
Freeman said he was happy to get the win, but saw some areas his team could improve upon.
â€œWe can play better,â€ he said. â€œWe made some baserunning mistakes, like we forgot where we were supposed to go. We hit better than weâ€™ve been doing, but Devine is a good pitcher.â€
Both Helms and Meza hit RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth to give East Lincoln a 7-0 lead, and Johnson had an RBI single to center field for the Lady Mustangsâ€™ final insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
Tori Urban led the Lady Wolves at the plate, hitting 2-3 with a double and a single. Campbell also went 2-3 with two singles and both Reed and Ashtyn Whitesides added singles.