By JUSTIN RAINS
Behind a dominant effort from freshman pitcher Kimberly Hughes and a knack for capitalizing on mistakes, the Cayuga softball team made quick work of Kerens Tuesday.
The Ladycats moved to 2-0 in district play with a 15-0, four inning rout of the visiting Lady Bobcats, despite only having six hits.
Cayuga took advantage of seven Kerens’ errors and numerous wild pitches and past balls in the victory, while keeping a clean error column of their own.
“We have not played an entire game, making routine plays all season long without an error,” CHS coach Magen Humphreys said. “So, this is big for us. Our pitcher gets strike outs and that helps us out, but we’ve got to go play defense...and we did today.”
Hughes struck out eight in the four inning victory, and Kerens never brought more than four batters to the plate in an inning.
Cayuga got things off to a quick start, with seven of the Ladycats’ first eight batters reaching in the first inning.
Maci Poland led off the game reaching after getting hit by a pitch, then stole second and moved to third on a groundout to short by Reann Richards.
Poland then scored on a wild pitch during Presley Luce’s at-bat, and Luce reached on a walk. Then, Cayuga began to really take advantage of Kerens’ mistakes.
Hughes struck out in the next at-bat, but reached after the ball went past the Kerens catcher. Madeline Jeffcoat then walked, before Jana Walthall —just like Hughes — struck out but reached after a past ball.
Kathlene Lackey — running for Hughes — scored on a past ball, while Jeffcoat reached on a wild pitch.
Walthall came around to score on an infield single from Molly Griffey, who then advanced to second on an error before stealing third. She came around to score on a sacrifice groundout by Meagan Poland.
The Ladycats kept it up in the second, with Maci Poland leading off with a walk, followed by Richards reaching on an error. Luce then was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Jeffcoat reached on an error, which scored Maci Poland and Richards, while Luce came around to score on a single to left by Walthall.
The inning could have been bigger after Griffey lined to center to load the bases, but Meagan Poland popped up to the catcher, and Jeffcoat was doubled up at third base.
Macie Croft then led off the third by reaching on a throwing error that allowed her to advance to second. She moved to third on a groundout by Maci Poland, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Richards.
Luce was then again hit by a pitch before moving to second when Hughes reached on an error. Luce and Lackey — running for Hughes — moved up another base when Jeffcoat walked, and Luce scored when Shelby Luce reached on an error to make it 8-0.
Lackey then scored on a past ball before the inning ended.
The fourth was the only inning in which Cayuga’s lead-off hitter was retired, but after that quick out Croft singled to right and moved to second on a single by Maci Poland.
Both scored on a hit from Presley Luce, and she then scored on a wild pitch after a single by Hughes to end the game.
Presley Luce reached and scored all four times she came to the plate in the game, while Jeffcoat reached all three times and Maci Poland scored three runs.
Hughes allowed only two hits while striking out eight, including a stretch where she struck out the side in both the second and third innings.
Cayuga heads to Cross Roads Thursday for the final game in the first round of district play. The game time is still undecided due to early release schedules at both schools.
ELKHART 24, Crockett 0
The Elkhart softball team figured out how to stop a losing streak.
Elkhart scored 15 runs in the first inning en route to a 24-0 blowout victory over Crockett, snapping the Lady Elks two-game losing streak.
Ashlee McShan had four hits and six RBI in the blowout victory, while Robin Grant had three hits and three RBI of her own.
Catie Bridges struck out five in the victory while also reaching twice via walks.
Elkhart travels to Garrison Friday, with the game set to begin at noon.
Kerens 2, CAYUGA 1
The matchup of the two unbeaten teams left in District 19-A lived up the hype Tuesday, with Cayuga and Kerens needing extra innings before the game’s first run was ever scored.
Cayuga opened the extra frame by scoring a run and looked primed to take control of the district with a win.
But, Kerens got an infield single and a sacrifice bunt, followed by a run scored on a past ball to tie things up. Then, the Bobcats won the game on a walk-off balk by Cayuga pitcher Chantz Holland.
Holland was solid in the win for the Wildcats, striking out 10 and only allowing three hits in a losing effort. Cayuga committed four errors in the game, after only committing one in the previous eight contests — all wins.
Preston Anderson was 3-for-3 at the plate for Cayuga in the loss.
Brett Anderson struck out 13 for Kerens, earning the win.
Cayuga (13-3, 6-1) hosts Fruitvale Friday at 4 p.m.