3 HRs lift 'Cats to 5th win in a row

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The Woodland High Lady Wildcats are playing their best softball of the season, now having won five in a row and 10 of their last 11 after Wednesday's 10-1 win at Hiram.

Woodland scored eight runs in the first three innings, including five runs the first inning and three home runs in the game, to run-rule Hiram in five innings.

The first four batters in the lineup — Bella Carnes, Morgan Bailey, Ansley Evans and Caroline Higdon — went a combined 8-for-16 with five runs and five RBIs in the game, while Kendyl Hardin hit two of her county-leading five home runs this season.

That production began on the fourth pitch of the game when Carnes singled, followed by Bailey and Evans singles to score one run. Higdon then doubled home another, and after two outs, Hardin delivered her first home run to center field to make the score 5-0 before Hiram took its first turn at the plate.

That would be all the run support needed for starting pitcher Sarah Baynard, who got out of a jam in the first inning with a runner in scoring position, and then sent Hiram down in order the next two innings. She allowed a harmless double in the fourth and a solo home run in the fifth to miss a shutout, but finished with four strikeouts and no walks. Baynard continues to win with command, having walked just two in 23 innings of region play.

Woodland was back at it offensively in the second, scoring on Higdon's solo home run, and the very next inning, Hardin hit her second dinger of the game, this one a solo shot to make the score 7-0.

But the Wildcats were hungry for more.

Still in the third inning, Skylar Chappell walked, Morgan Cooper doubled and Bella Carnes tripled to make it a 9-0 ballgame after 2 1/2 innings of play.

Woodland made it 10-0 in the fifth and last inning when Chappell singled, advanced on Carnes and Bailey's single, and scored on a groundout.

Carnes went 3-for-4 in the game, Bailey went 2-for-4, Higdon went 2-for-4 and Hardin went 2-for-3 with her two home runs and four RBIs.

Woodland is now 11-5 overall and 5-2 in Region 7-AAAAA, good for third and just one game behind second-place East Paulding. Woodland will face East Paulding Monday, but first will take on Paulding County today at home.