By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
The Washington softball team is finding that it’s not always how hard you hit the ball, but where you hit the ball that counts.
The Hatchets (9-4) defeated South Knox, 9-3, Thursday night at the Sports Complex by forcing five Spartans errors.
After a slow first two innings for both teams, South Knox put a run up on the scoreboard after loading the bases with none out in the top of the third against Washington ace Allexis Lemon. Washington answered with four runs on just two hits in the bottom half.
Ashlee Hayes scored the first run on a passed ball, pinch runner Shyla Sama and Paige Hawthorne scored on throwing errors and Lauren White scored on Carrie Lane’s double to left field - the only RBI of the inning.
The trend of poor defense from South Knox would continue in the fourth inning when the Hatchets scored three more runs on one hit with two more Spartan errors. Taylor Killion reached on an error on the third basemen.
Mattie Graber then laid down a bunt, and South Knox catcher Betty McGlone threw the ball down the right field line to allow Killion and Graber to come around and score to push the lead to 6-1. Later in the inning, Lemon walked - Sama stole second, and scored on Hawthorne’s RBI single.
“We put pressure on the other team, and make them make good throws,” said Washington coach Alan Lemon. “We’ve got a little bit of speed now, and that’s what we’re going to do - make the other team make plays.”
Allexis Lemon controlled the strike zone as she has done so often during her career at Washington. Lemon went the distance, allowing four hits, walking three and striking out 11, while allowing just three runs to cross the plate.
“Other than the two leadoff walks, she was in control,” Lemon said. “She didn’t get to play last summer, because of her injury, so she is still progressing. We’re hoping by sectional time that changeup, drop ball will be looking a lot better. She pitched a really nice game.”
Washington added two more runs on two hits in the bottom of the sixth when another throwing error by McGlone scored Sama’s third run of the night and a Lemon RBI double scored Graber.
South Knox seemed intent on not letting Lemon or Hawthorne beat them.
Spartan starting pitcher Lauren Keller handed out all five of her walks to them, but the other seven Washington batters made her pay. Lemon and Hawthorne each had a run-scoring hit despite the Spartan strategy.
“They are our two best hitters so they aren’t going to see good pitches,” Lemon said. “We have to be well behind them as far as executing the bunt and putting a little pressure on them. If they are going to walk them, we have to get runners on and score. That’s our plan.”
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, Lemon said his team needs to focus in on getting better every day and not paying too much attention to what their record is.
“We need to keep the girls focused and not get the big head,” Lemon said.
“You have to come out every game, I don’t care who you’re playing - you have to come out every game and be ready to play.”
South Knox 001 020 0 ¬ 3 4 5
Washington 004 302 x ¬ 9 7 1
Lemon and Hawthorne; Keller and McGlone. W-Lemon L-Keller
2B: (W) Lane, Lemon