'Improving' Burgin beats Pioneers 16-1

April 18, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

BURGIN - The Burgin girls covered a great deal of ground between the beginning and end of last season, but they're glad they don't have to do it again.

The Bulldogs are convinced that they are at least as good as they were when they closed up shop last spring, and they demonstrated that Friday with a 16-1 whipping of Harrodsburg.

"I think we're improving," said first baseman Tiffany Shewmaker, one of three Burgin players with two hits each. "We've picked up where we left off last year."

Burgin coach Matt Grimes agreed with that assessment.

"Right now, we're about where we left off last year," Grimes said. "Our pitching has improved, our hitting has improved, our fielding has improved. All around, we're a better team than we were at this point last year."


Burgin (2-3), which hosted the Bluegrass Conference Tournament Saturday, might have its the greatest gains at the plate, where the lineup is populated with more players capable of sending balls into the gaps.

"That was one of our goals," Grimes said. "At the beginning of the season last year, we could only rely on about three batters. As you see tonight, we've got several people wanting to step up. And when your number nine batter hits a home run, that's always good news."

That would be Shewmaker, whose inside-the-park home run was the first homer of her career and the highlight of an offensive effort that produced four extra-base hits and six singles.

Shewmaker, who also tripled to cap a six-run first inning, pulled several balls foul to the third-base side before she launched the ball over Harrodsburg's right fielder and circled the bases for a two-run home run that gave the Bulldogs a 10-1 lead in the second.

"I was impressed," she said.

Taylor Bottoms doubled and tripled to drive in three runs for Burgin, and Stephanie Stewart drove in four runs with a pair of singles.

Michelle Myers singled home two runs in the first inning, and theBulldogs also took advantage of six Harrodsburg errors.

That gave Bottoms, the Burgin pitcher, more than enough margin for error.

She allowed a first-inning run on infield hits by Mandy Long and Amber Lister and a pair of wild pitches, but she also had eight strikeouts and no walks in the four-inning game, and Harrodsburg never got a ball out of the infield.

"Our bats were a little weak, but Taylor's one of the better pitchers in the area," Harrodsburg coach Malissa Hutchins said.

It was the first game of the season for an inexperienced Harrodsburg team, which had no games scheduled during its two-week spring break.

"We used that time around spring break to practice," Hutchins said. "We were glad to get out there, but you saw a lot of first-game jitters that everybody else got rid of over spring break.

"Overall, I'm pleased with our kids' effort. Our kids have improved 1,000 percent. We actually know what to do with the ball when it's hit."

Hutchins said she was even pleased with pitcher Shunel Sanders, who allowed 10 hits and walked seven batters.

"She was walking 25 or 26 batters last year, and to cut it to seven today, hopefully by the district tournament she can cut it down to two or three," Hutchins said.

Burgin has its own goal in mind for next month's 44th District Tournament: The Bulldogs would like to earn a spot in the regional tournament.

"We want to go to regionals," Shewmaker said. "I think if we make it that far, we'd be doing pretty good."

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