(Photos by Josh Mills, Staff)
BENTON--The Kelly Lady Hawks softball team defeated the Cape Central Lady Tigers 3-0 Thursday to improve to 8-1 on the season.
The game was a battle of pitching and defense. Danielle Dock pitched for Kelly while Amanda Nichols took the duties for Cape Central. Both are highly-regarded pitchers in Southeast Missouri.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game," said Dock after Thursday's game. "I knew Amanda Nichols would give us a run for our money. I just thought about keeping the ball away and using my change up so that Cape would hit the ball to my defense and trust they would back me up, which they did."
Dock showed real determination in the top of the fifth when she took a line drive to the forearm but continued the game.
"Danielle did an outstanding job," Kelly head coach Rhonda Ratledge said. "She took a shot right to her arm. But to come back and finish the game says a lot. Our defense did a great job backing her up."
The contest was a stalemate until Kelly broke things open in the bottom of the fifth.
"We did a lot of damage in that fifth inning with two outs," Ratledge said. "Heather Beggs put down a good bunt to get everything started."
After Beggs' bunt single, leadoff hitter Londyn Backfisch took a walk to put runners on first and second. That's all that was needed for second basemen Katee Moore. Moore hit a deep shot to right that scored both runners and earned her a double. Haley Glastetter, who as been very strong at the plate of late, followed up Moore's RBI's with one of her own. Glastetter's line drive double up the middle was enough to score Moore from second. That brought the game to its final tally of 3-0.
"I don't know if the fifth inning is our magic inning or what," Ratledge said. "But we seem to really come alive in the fifth, against a few teams now."
Ratledge is pleased with her pitching and defense, but feels that the offense still needs improvement.
"We came out of this with a win, but we see that we have the missing link in the need to improve our hitting," Ratledge said. "We had nine strikeouts, we should have put the ball in play a little more."
Both teams had a problem leaving runners on base Thursday, with Kelly stranding five, and Cape Central nine.
"Defensively we did fine, we had one lapse," Cape Central head coach Amy Blattel said. "They earned all three runs, so you can't do much more on defense. Offensively we are leaving runners on base. We need to do a better job of bringing runners around. We left nine runners on base. We can't do that against good teams with good pitching. We did a good job getting on base but we have to finish it."
Tori Ourth led the Cape Central offense going 3-for-3.
Blattel and her team feel they know where they need to improve.
"Our kids have been battling all year long so I know our girls aren't going to quit. We have to do a better job of getting on teams earlier."
Kelly will be in action this weekend at the Incarnate Word Tournament in St. Louis.