Excel, Woodland bats come alive in region wins
by Jason Greenberg
Aug 27, 2014 | 1010 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Excel softball team was due for a big day at the plate after failing to score in the team’s last three games.

That big day came Tuesday as the Lady Eagles broke out for nine runs on 11 hits in their 9-0 victory over Mount Paran at Excel High.

“We’ve been a little feast or famine,” Excel head coach Chad Parker said Tuesday after the game. “Once we get going, we kind of feed off of each other. What we need to do better is grind out some runs, but that pitcher wasn’t a bad pitcher and we had some good swings today.”

Excel scored two runs in the first inning when singles by Lexie Adams and Brighton McCollum set the stage for Savannah Sewell, who drove home both runners with a double over the center fielder’s head.

The Lady Eagles would score another run in the third inning when McCollum and Sewell singled before Hannah Cauthen drove in a run on a groundout.

McCollum once again got things started in the fifth inning with a line drive double before stealing third base and scoring on a groundout by Sewell. Another run would come around to score later in the inning on an RBI single by Rachel Parrott.

McCollum went 4-for-4 with a double, three stolen bases and four runs scored while Sewell went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and a double in the game. Out of the leadoff spot, Adams finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.

Sewell leads the team with a .600 batting average and nine RBIs. McCollum is hitting .500 this season and leads the team with a .769 slugging percentage and nine runs scored.

“Sewell swung the bat really well. She’s going to be a big run producer for us. McCollum had a good day. Lexie Adams had a good day, so the top of our order showed their worth today,” Parker said.

Mount Paran only got two outs in the sixth inning as Excel put up a 4-spot to win by way of the run rule. Adams led off the inning with a hit, Aliza Baker walked and Sewell drove both home with a single. A Mount Paran error then allowed two more runs to score and ice the game.

In the circle, Sewell allowed just three hits in her complete game shutout for Excel. She did allow the leadoff batter to reach base in four of her six innings, but the hard-throwing Sewell was able to get out of any trouble thanks to nine strikeouts.

“She was a little wild today, but effectively wild,” Parker said of his junior pitcher. “She did a good job of when she got in trouble, getting out of it.”

In addition to the hot bats and strong pitching by Sewell, the Lady Eagles played a complete game as they did not commit an error and stole seven bases. Third baseman Adams and shortstop McCollum made several solid plays from the left side of the infield and Baker made an impressive snare on a line drive to first base to get Excel out of the fourth inning and strand a runner on third.

“We pitched well, played good defense, we didn’t make any errors defensively, ran the bases well and did a good job at the plate,” Parker said of the game. “Our whole thing is to keep working and getting better and trying to right some wrong. It doesn’t really matter who we play. We just need to play and get better.”

Excel now moves to 3-6 overall and 1-1 in region play. The team’s next game will be Thursday at North Cobb Christian as the Lady Eagles will go in with some momentum after a convincing first region win.

Woodland 9, Sequoyah 1

The Woodland softball team threatened to score in each the second and third innings, putting runners in scoring position with less than two outs in both frames.

However, it was not until the fourth inning when Woodland’s bats broke through, and did so in a big way as the Lady Wildcats scored six in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth in their 9-1 victory at home against Sequoyah.

“It wasn’t a good start, but it was pretty solid game,” Woodland head coach Colman Roberts said of his team’s performance. “We played well. The defense was good, pitching was good. We had timely hitting and a couple of two-out hits.

“That’s a big win for us because we struggle with them. They beat Cass and we lost to Cass.”

Sequoyah was the first on the board with a run in the first inning on a passed ball. Woodland pitcher Brooke Rogers then shut Sequoyah out the rest of the way, allowing just two hits and a walk while pitching around two errors in the last five innings.

“She stayed ahead of the count, had them off balance with changeups. [Sequoyah’s] first two hitters are pretty good,” Roberts said of Rogers’ performance. “She was in command the whole game. She had a low pitch count. She just looked real good. She looked solid.”

The run support came in the fourth inning, which began with five consecutive singles by Kereston Franklin, Rogers, Shelby Rainey, Sheena Craig and Valerie Glass. Rainey’s and Craig’s singles each brought in a run to make the score 2-1.

After two consecutive outs, Woodland was in danger of leaving runners in scoring position with less than two outs for the third straight inning. However, Bridgett Hampton cleared the bases when she hit a grand slam, her second home run in as many games, to give Woodland a 6-1 lead.

The offensive onslaught would continue in the fifth inning. Rainey got things started with a single and advanced to third on an error and Glass’ sacrifice bunt. Bailey Roberts then drove Rainey in with a single.

Sydney Hodorff would later finish the scoring for Woodland with another home run, this time a two-run shot, to walk off with a win. It was Woodland’s third home run of the season, all coming in the last two games.

Hodorff leads the team with a .467 batting average and a .667 slugging percentage. In region play those numbers have been even better as she has eight hits in 13 at bats, including three doubles and the home run.

Roberts believes his team’s lineup has turned a corner after a close loss to Archer in the Lady Wildcats’ last game in the Buccaneer Bash Saturday.

“I think Saturday night helped us because we played Archer. They won the state championship in AAAAAA two years ago and they lost in the second round last year. They’re good and we were down, 7-2, and we fought back,” Colman Roberts said. “[Tuesday], we were productive at the plate the whole game, just about it. We had two occasions the whole game when we weren’t productive, but other than that, it was good. I hope we keep it up. We’re playing real well.”

The Lady Wildcats now move to 4-6 on the season and 2-2 in region play. They face River Ridge today in a makeup game of last week’s rainout.