By JUSTIN RAINS
A monster first inning was all visiting Woden really needed to get past Elkhart Thursday.
The Lady Eagles scored seven runs in the opening frame, sending 10 batters to the plate in the process en route to a 11-6 win over the Lady Elks.
With the win, Woden moves to 4-0 in District 19-2A play, while Elkhart falls to 3-2.
“I think they were good hitters but I think we also had some defensive errors that were very uncharacteristic of us,” EHS coach Brandy Martin said. “They played really well, but again, we didn’t play good defense.”
Woden’s first seven batters reached base and all eventually came around to score to set the tone for the game.
Elkhart answered with two runs in the bottom of the first to make things interesting throughout.
With one out, Megan Davis reached on an infield single before Catie Bridges looped a hit over the short stop to put two on for Courtney Cheatham, who also singled to load the bases.
After a strike out by Alicia Lipscomb, Larami McAdams roped a single to left that scored both Davis and Bridges to cut the deficit to five.
The score remained 7-2 until the sixth, but not without the Lady Elks making a little noise.
After two quick strikeouts to start the bottom of the second, Courtney Lindsey reached on an infield single, with Davis and Bridges each following with singles to left to load the bases for the big-hitting Cheatham.
But, Cheatham’s lined shot to right field was caught, and the rally died without a run crossing the plate.
Woden plated two runs in the top of the sixth, only to see Elkhart again answer with an offensive outburst.
The notably-streaky Lady Elks offense came alive when Robin Grant reached with one out, and then moved to second by beating a throw on a ground ball by Tracey Clewis.
With two on and two out, Lindsey roped a single to left that scored Grant to make it 9-3.
Davis then reached on an error, which scored Clewis, which brought Bridges back to the plate with her team trailing 9-4.
The junior pitcher responded, smashing a ball to deep left field that plated both Lindsey and Davis to make it 9-6.
But, Woden again plated two runs in the top of the seventh to make the lead unreachable and put the game away.
“I was happy with, offensively, what we saw (late in the game) and defensively there for a couple of innings,” Martin said. “Then, we had a couple of more innings defensively where it was ugly.
“We can’t have that in this district if we want to make the playoffs.”
With the loss, Elkhart now finds itself in a dog-fight for 19-2A’s third-place spot with one game remaining in the first round of district.
That game will be a big one Tuesday, as the Lady Elks travel to Groveton to face the Lady Indians, who are 2-2 in district and currently in fourth. Coincidentally, Groveton is coached by former Elkhart baseball assistant Bryan Finch.
“We’ve got to have that win to finish out the first round,” Martin said. “We have a bye next Friday so this is our last first round game. We’ve got to have a win to stay in the top-three spots.
“(If not) we’re going to be fighting pretty much the entire second round.”
That game is set to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday.