ECHS, Northview struggle to find offense as season begins

Published 4:47 am Monday, February 28, 2005

By Staff
Tim Cottrell
These days are hard times for softball players.
The Northview Lady Chiefs and Escambia County Lady Devils opened their seasons struggling to find an offensive rhythm.
Their seasons began by facing off against one another Tuesday at Ponytail Park in Atmore. A pitcher's duel ended in a 2-0 win for the Lady Devils.
"I thought it went real well," said Lady Devil coach Jeff Haney. "We played really well defensively. Pitching won the game for us. Morgan (Marsh) pitched a great game. We're depending on her this year."
Northview head coach and athletic director Sammy Day was not as pleased.
"We've gotten off to a slow start," Day said Friday. "We're just not hitting the ball, and we're making a lot of errors, which is uncharacteristic."
The Lady Devils struck first in the bottom of the first inning, when shortstop Lasheka Williams singled and rounded the bases to give ECHS a 1-0 lead.
The two teams went scoreless over the next four-and-a-half innings, until Kim Holland got on base with a single in the bottom of the sixth. Anushka Banks drove in Holland with a double to give the Lady Devils a two-run lead.
Hannah Gunter reached base on a single for the Lady Chiefs in the top of the seventh, but that was as far as she would get.
For the Lady Devils, Lasheka Williams was 1-3 with a run scored, Kim Holland was 1-2 with a run scored, and Anushka Banks was 1-2 with a double and an RBI.
For the Lady Chiefs, Vanessa Garrison was 2-3 with a double, Hannah Gunter was 2-3, and Stacey Hardin was 1-2.
"There were a few runs that could've been saved," Day said. "One of their runs we caught a ball in the outfield and thought there were three outs so we didn't throw the ball to the infield. But we just didn't hit the ball and Atmore put it in play. We'll snap out of it."
The two teams played again Thursday, with the Lady Devils facing the UMS-Wright Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Chiefs facing the West Florida Tech Jaguars. Runs proved harder to come by.
UMS-Wright 8, Escambia County 1
The Lady Bulldogs travelled to Ponytail Park and pounded the Lady Devils, 8-1.
"We made a lot of errors and it cost us a lot of runs," Haney said.
Haney was encouraged by some aspects of the game, but still saw room for improvement.
"We put the bat on the ball," Haney said. "But we've got to learn how to put the ball where they won't catch it. We're also making too many mistakes."
Statistics for this game were not available at press time.
Haney felt confident about the future of his team.
"I'm feeling pretty good about the next few weeks," Haney said. "We've got Monroe County, Jay, and Jackson. We're playing pretty well, but we've got to concentrate. We made a lot of mental errors, and we need to work on baserunning."
Haney said he was looking for help from his seniors.
"We're really depending on Morgan Marsh," he said. "Tamaniek McGhee needs to step up for us as well. But we're going to have some practice and get some things ironed out."
The Lady Devils will square off against the Monroe County Lady Tigers Monday at Ponytail Park at 4:00.
West Florida Tech 6, Northview 0
For the second consecutive game, the Northview Lady Chiefs were shut out.
"We still just weren't putting the bat on the ball," Day said.
The Lady Jaguars scored one run in the first inning, two in the fourth, one in the fifth, and two in the sixth inning to provide the winning margin.
For the Lady Chiefs, Stephanie Covan was 1-4, Cassie Godwin was 0-2 with a walk, Jamie Kittrell was 0-1 with a walk and was hit by a pitch, Amber Cutts was 1-3, and Hannah Gunter was 1-2.
Day was not losing confidence in his team.
"We've got six batters that are really good hitters," Day said. "But I'm going to need the first through the fourth batters to start hitting. Cassie's pitching well right now. We haven't been as good defensively, but it'll get better. We've got four starting seniors and I expect us to snap out of it."
The Lady Chiefs will face Catholic Tuesday at 4:00 at Northview.

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