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WA Softball Rd 3 States vs W Harnett (5/18/12)

May 19, 2012
By Theresa Bell of Western Alamance High School

Warriors blow past Western Harnett in softball        

ELON — The Western Alamance softball team made a Class 3-A third-round game of the state playoffs look easy with a 12-1 victory against Western Harnett on Friday.

The Warriors (24-3) used an eight-run fourth inning to blow the game open and junior pitcher Tyler Miles closed the door on a two-hitter in the fifth inning, as the game was called because of the 10-run rule.

Next for Western Alamance comes at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Eden Morehead. The Warriors defeated their Mid-State 3-A Conference rivals in the conference tournament after losing to the Panthers twice in the regular season.

Against Western Harnett, senior first baseman Jessica Griffin led off the fourth with a double to the right-field fence and later scored on a wild pitch. She came up later in the inning with two on and two outs and drove the ball over the left-field fence for the game’s final three runs.

“I was just thinking to get a base hit, because I’ve been struggling for the past few games,” Griffin said. “I was just working on watching it all the way and trying to get a base hit.”

On the home run blast, Griffin said she had no doubt where it would land.

“As soon as it came off (the bat), I knew it was gone,” Griffin said.

Miles struck out 10 and surrendered two singles. She also drove in the game’s first run in the first inning when she hit a two-out single into left field, bringing Sydney Brooks home.

The junior pitcher worked ahead for most of the game, throwing first-pitch strikes to 15 of 22 batters. But Miles had to deal with some inconsistencies in what became a small strike zone.

“He was calling them low at first and then he suddenly changed it,” Miles said of the umpire. “Then, he wasn’t giving me much on the corners so that was kind of hard, too. But, we just work through it.”

The only run Miles allowed was when she walked three and hit a batter in the third inning.

Other than that run, it was all Warriors.

Brooks hit a two-run double in the fourth. Left fielder Kendall McKinney went 3-for-3 with a RBI single in the second inning. Christina Walker was 2-for-3 with a two-run single in the fourth.

Warriors coach Donna Deaton had an idea of what kind of team the Eagles (19-8) were coming into the game, but didn’t expect a third-round playoff game to end early.

“Our scouting report said that they’re probably not a strong hitting team, that they’re more of a short-game team,” Deaton said. “I thought if we played error-free ball that we’d win, but no I did not expect them run rule them in five innings.”

Part of the reason for the onslaught was an adjustment by Deaton and her staff.

Western Alamance realized that Western Harnett had picked up on its signs, Deaton said. When the Warriors changed their signs, it was a move the Eagles struggled to counter.

“We knew they had our signs, so we changed them,” Deaton said. “Their defense was pulling in. I think that allowed us to make a lot of hits that wouldn’t have been hits.”

Western Alamance outhit Western Harnett 12-2, with 8 of 9 WA batters collecting hits. The Warriors didn’t commit an error in the field.

Stats Cournesy of MaxPreps:  Kendall McKinney 2-3, 1 run, 1 RBI; Christina Walker 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Madison Bell 1-3, 1 run; Jessica Griffin 2-3 (Double, Home Run), 2 runs, 3 RBI; Sydney Brooks 1-3 (Double), 2 runs, 2 RBI; Kelsey Akers 1-2, BB, 2 runs, 1 RBI; Kelsey Rice 0-2, Sac Bunt; Merritt Wilkinson 1-1, 2 BB, 2 runs; Tyler Miles 1-3.

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