By BRYAN URBACH
Elkhart and Westwood squared off in a district softball match in which the Lady Elks came out on top — 13-3 by run-rule — on Tuesday afternoon in Elkhart.
The scoring started in the bottom of the first inning as Elkhart came out with an offensive spark and scored a two-run single by Robin Grant. Behind her, Lady Elks’ Catie Bridges blasted a one-run double past the Westwood defenders and into the outfield to score the Lady Elks’ third run of the game.
A two-run single by Tiffany Rosas had the Lady Elks up 5-0 after the first inning, and Westwood coach Jenna Jenkins said the Lady Panthers didn’t come out with enough mental energy to start the game.
“We had some defensive errors that just took us out of the game,” Jenkins said. “We came out in the first inning and made several errors and set a bad tone for the rest of the game, even though we did clean up our defense after that. We just couldn’t bounce back from it.”
After another RBI from Elkhart’s Grant in the second inning, the Lady Panthers finally scored their first runs of the match in the top of the third inning on a two-run single from senior Courtney Stanhope.
“She (Stanhope) is so clutch,” Jenkins said. “She always comes in and gets us a hit when we need it. She’s a senior this year, so we’re going to hate to lose her after this year, but she’s just a great ball player.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Elkhart extended its lead by scoring runs from a sacrifice hit from Bridges to score one run and then a two-run single from Rosas to bring the game to 9-2.
“We hit the ball real well,” Elkhart coach Brandy Martin said. “We were really patient at the plate. We got some really good hits and defensively, we were on point like we needed to be.”
In the top of the sixth, Stanhope hit a much-needed solo home run for the Lady Panthers to bring the score to 9-3. But that’s all the scoring Westwood was able to muster in the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Elkhart finished the job as it scored four runs off a double, triple and finally a single to bring the score to 13-3 and the result was a run-rule victory for the Lady Elks.
“Camryn (Rucker), she’s a freshman and really strong on the mound for us,” Martin said. “She doesn’t get rattled very easily, and she puts the ball where it needs to be. She throws defensively, basically. She doesn’t throw it to where the other team can get hits. She throws the ball to her spots well.”