By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer
The White Pine High School softball team made an early season statement last weekend, taking two of three games from Lowry, winning the first two games 3-2 and 8-7 before dropping the final game of the weekend 15-1.
“Winning both games on Friday was a great accomplishment,” coach Krystal Smith said. “For the past two years, Lowry has been the strongest 3A team in the Ruby Mountain League and to play them this early in the season was a stiff test for us.
“I was prouda of my girls for not only winning, but more importantly, playing so well in such close games, and rallying back for a win in the second game. Most of our girls have not played in games that close with so much on the line, but we were able to dig deep and secure two wins against a very good softball team.”
Friday saw pitcher Bailey Moore throw a one-hitter in the first game on Friday, including six strikeouts. She also had two home runs, which scored all three of the Ladycats’ runs. White Pine also saw several other standout performances during the weekend.
“Shania Hall, who was new to second base, had a great defensive weekend for us,” Smith said. “Teal Hussey hit a walk-off single in the second game on Friday, and was a dominant force behind the plate for us, catching all 20 innings. Freshman Debra Kingston scored our only run on Saturday, hitting her first home run of her career in the bottom of the sixth inning.”
While White Pine played well Friday, errors led to 10 runs in Saturday’s loss and the Smith said she would like to see more consistent hitting transfer from practices to the games.
“I would like to see improvement in our hitting,” Smith said. “We take one day a week to solely focus on hitting and it needs to now be transferred to game situations. When Meachum (Lowry’s pitcher) got tired, we were able to take advantage of her, but other than that, she held us offensively. In the final innings of Saturday’s game we were once again able to get on base, but not push runs across. We need to have better at-bats in pressure situations.”
But White Pine sent a clear message after taking two of three from Lowry: That the Ladycats are set on making a return trip to State.
“We’ve had tremendous progress since week one,” Smith said. “Our younger kids are beginning to settle in and feel comfortable in their roles, and our older kids are much further ahead of where they were last year at this time. We have strong team chemistry, which helps with the development of any team, and that translates to talking and supporting each other on the field. We had great focus in practices last week, and I expect that to continue. Finally, having a dominant pitcher in Bailey on the mound helps any team believe they can win any game. Overall, I’m quite pleased and expect more growth this week. We will continue to improve our hitting and defense.”
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