ECHS hits slump

Published 8:37 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Escambia County Lady Blue Devils pitcher Kaylee Cox tries to tag out a T.R. Miller Lady Tigers during a steal attempt after a passed ball at home. The Lady Blue Devils were swept in the Escambia County Tournament last weekend in Brewton.

Struggling defined the Escambia County Lady Blue Devils during the first-ever Escambia County Tournament last weekend at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton.

The Lady Blue Devils (12-7, 3-2) were swept in the tournament by county foes T.R. Miller, W.S. Neal and Flomaton, only scoring two runs in three games.

Escambia County closed out the tournament by being shut out 7-0 by T.R. Miller in a game where they left several runners on base.
The scoring problems really highlighted the problems that the Lady Blue Devils had in the tournament, ECHS Head Softball coach Darryl Otwell said.

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“We had trouble getting runners across the plate,” he said. “A lot of times, we had runners on second and third, but couldn’t find ways to get them home. One time, we had bases loaded, and could not get a hit. Defensively, we made a lot of mistakes in the outfield. It was just a bad day for us overall.”

Miller made the most of their scoring opportunities in the contest against ECHS jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. They grabbed the lead on a three-run homerun by Kristen Booker that scored Moriah Brundidge and Taylor Guthrie.

During the contest, ECHS had its chances to close on the lead leaving Kaylee Cox (1-for-2) and Taylor Hill (0-for-0, 2BB) on base in the first inning and Lexi Daughtry (1-for-2) stranded on third in the second inning.

T.R. Miller capitalized on the ability to hold the Lady Blue Devils off of the scoreboard by advancing their lead in the final inning scoring four more runs courtesy of Guthrie, Booker, Lauren Ward and Laurel Billy to go up by the final score of 7-0.

Y-netta Craft (1-for-2) and Sierra Smith (1-for-2) also finished the game with hits for the Lady Blue Devils.

With the tournament behind them, the Lady Blue Devils now turn their focus to finishing the last week of the regular season strong.

Fighting off the recent struggles with strong practices is the method Otwell is using on his team, he said.

“The most important thing is we have to find our way of this slump,” he said. “Pitching, hitting and defense are all struggling, but we had a good practice Monday, so now is the time that we need to pull out of that slump.”

Improving by Thursday’s match up with area leading UMS-Wright is the motivation that ECHS is using in practice.

Sticking with fundamentals is key to finding a way to get a win over the Lady Bulldogs, Otwell said.

“Thursday is our biggest game of the season so far,” he said. “It all starts with throwing strikes and making routine plays defensively. We just need to get back to basics, so we can compete against UMS-Wright.”

The Lady Blue Devils take on UMS-Wright at    4 p.m. on Thursday at home at Tom Byrne Park.

W.S. Neal 4, ECHS 0
Coming in following a tournament-opening loss against Flomaton on Friday, the Escambia County Lady Blue Devils found more trouble against the W.S. Neal Lady Eagles on Saturday at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton.

The Lady Blue Devils played a tough game against the Lady Eagles, but a four-run third inning put the game in favor of the eventual Escambia County Tournament champions.

In the inning, Kelana Floyd, Lauren Boatwright, Autumn Hinote and Kena Ellison crossed the plate for W.S. Neal to give their team the only runs needed to win.

Escambia County had its chances to win putting several batters on base during the five-inning game, but struggled to get the necessary hits.

Mistakes on offense cost ECHS the game, Lady Blue Devils Head Softball Coach Darryl Otwell said.

“The first inning we had back-to-back singles, but their pitcher deserves credit for getting two straight strikeouts,” he said. “We didn’t have timely hits in that game. We put runners on base, but then we made baserunning mistakes and struggled with the bat.”

Lady Blue Devil Jasmine Ireland was the offensive leader for the team going 2-for-2 with two singles in the game.

Flomaton 7, ECHS 2
Two runs were all the Escambia County Lady Blue Devils could find offensively against the Flomaton Lady Hurricanes in the opening of the Escambia County Tournament at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton.

Trailing 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Kaylee Cox and Taylor Hill scored to cut the Lady Hurricanes’ lead to five runs, but it would be the last they would get, as the game ended 7-2.

Cox finished the game 0-for-1 with a run scored, while Hill was 0-for-2. The two were knocked in on a single by Y-netta Craft, who finished the game 1-for-2 with the two RBIs.