That mistake didn’t sit well with coach Lisa Chapman, who picked up a chair in the dugout and slammed it down in disgust, making a noise that rattled throughout the field.
“When coach slammed that chair, it was definitely a wakeup call,” shortstop Malea Bell said. “But it also brought us together, and we knew we had to start getting some runs. She might get mad, but that just makes us work harder.”
That’s just what top-ranked Kennesaw Mountain did, as the Lady Mustangs ignited for six runs in the bottom of the fifth, en route to a 10-2 six-inning victory over the eighth-ranked Lady Hawks in Region 4AAAAAA action.
“I was just sliding my chair out of the way,” Chapman quipped. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Ten batters came to the plate in the fifth for the Lady Mustangs (14-1-1, 4-0), who have won 12 straight and are unbeaten in their last 15 games.
After Morgan Howard grounded out, Kathryn Woody and pinch-hitter Maddi Lewis drew walks, and Bell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After Becky Granneman came in to run for Lewis at first, a passed ball advanced each runner, scoring Lillian Wright — who pinch-ran for Woody — to put Kennesaw Mountain in front 2-1.
Kimmie Strebe walked to reload the bases before a wild pitch scored Lewis and moved Strebe and Bell to second and third, respectively. Chandler Stooksbury singled home Bell, and a two-out error on Molly Uhrman’s at-bat pushed Strebe across the plate for a 5-1 advantage.
Farris added the final two runs in the inning off a double to right-center field, which plated Stooksbury and Uhrman, who hustled to score from first base.
Hillgrove (7-3, 1-1) added its second run in the top of the sixth, and Kennesaw Mountain scored its final three runs with two outs in the bottom half of the frame.
Woody led off by reaching on an error, and walks to Bell and Strebe loaded the bases with one out. After a forceout at home off a fielder’s choice by Stooksbury kept the bases loaded with two outs, a Hillgrove error in the outfield during Amanda Hallman’s at-bat plated Bell and Strebe for a 9-2 margin.
Uhrman, who batted 2-for-4, recorded her second RBI with a single to left that scored Stooksbury and gave the Lady Mustangs an eight-run lead, and the run-rule victory.
Hillgrove pitchers Abby Evans and Taylor DeCelles combined to gave up only four earned runs on five hits, but the Lady Hawks’ defense committed four errors that led directly to six runs. The pitching duo also combined to throw six walks and hit one batter.
“We definitely took advantage of some mistakes (Hillgrove doesn’t) typically make,” Chapman said. “Our girls did a good job with their approach at the plate and extending the innings. We had a couple of big two-out hits and went deep into some counts, and I think that was the difference in the game.
“I like the fact that we’re continuing to do the little things that we’re supposed to do. We disciplined at the plate, and that’s going to be our approach all season, no matter who the opponent. This sets up the whole year with this win against Hillgrove and in the region. We don’t want to look to far ahead, but this was a big win.”
Farris gave up two runs — one earned — on three hits and struck out six to earn the victory. She also batted 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Stooksbury had an RBI and scored twice, while Bell scored twice and Strebe came home three times.
Hillgrove’s Brittany Ferrell led off the first with a walk, moved to second on a passed ball, reached third on a groundout and scored on Abby Akins’ groundout.
Uhrman’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth plated Strebe to knot the contest at 1-all.
With Kennesaw Mountain leading 7-1 in the top of the sixth, Ashley Allen singled, reached second on a wild pitch and scored on Rachel Jarvis’ RBI double to pull Hillgrove to within 7-2.
“We didn’t show up to play, and Kennesaw Mountain did,” Hillgrove coach Laura Voyles said. “That’s the bottom line of it. But I think we’ll see them again. Now, we have to make some adjustments, and practice hard (today), and see what happens.”