Softball: Win adds to Lions' confidence

May 14, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

LANCASTER - The Garrard County girls are looking for a little confidence.

They've been picking it up over the course of the season, stockpiling what they think they'll need for the coming postseason.

And they got some more Thursday night when they defeated visiting Mercer 9-0 to complete an undefeated run through their 44th District schedule.

"We knew we could do it from the beginning," said left fielder Betsy Ball, who had three of Garrard's 10 hits. "We just had to have confidence in ourselves."


Ball said that's what the Lions need even more of as they prepare for what they hope will be a long run through the district and regional tournaments.

"I think we need to realize we have confidence and we're able to do big things when we're out here," Ball said.

Garrard (13-12) did what it wanted on its Senior Night Thursday, stringing together enough hits in the late innings to pull away while pitcher Tiffany Meadors held Mercer to just one hit.

The victory gave the Lady Lions the No. 1 seed for the district tournament. They went 6-0 in their district games, outscoring their opponents 76-3.

"That's always good, and that was one of our goals," Garrard coach Jeff Meadors said. "But our main goal is to move on out in the regional tournament."

Toward that end, the Lions are playing in three invitational tournaments in hopes of getting better by playing against better competition.

They have already played in tournaments with quality fields at Lafayette and Russell County, and they will do so again in the Boyle County Invitational, which begins today.

"I definitely believe you have to play up," Meadors said. "I want to win, but I'd rather lose and learn something than win and not learn anything."

Ball said the players are looking forward to this weekend's games, where their opponents will include No. 8 Lafayette.

"When we play good competition, we usually play to their level, which hurts us sometimes when we play teams that aren't as good," Ball said. "Beating somebody that's ranked in the state would be a good accomplishment."

Another of their accomplishments was adjusting to the transition created when former coach Ernie Browning resigned unexpectedly and Meadors was promoted from assistant to head coach earlier this month. The Lions have gone 4-1 since the switch.

"There was nothing we could do about it, but we regrouped well and tried to make the best of the situation," Ball said.

Mercer was eyeing its own accomplishment, as a win over Garrard would have created a tie in the race for the top seed in the district tourney.

"This was a big game for us," Mercer coach Crystal McGinnis said. "We wanted that No. 1 seed. But we'll get 'em again, hopefully."

The Scotties had only two hits off Meadors in their first meeting, a 9-2 loss April 15 at Mercer, and this time they managed but one, a leadoff single by Ashley Fowler in the fifth inning.

"We're hitting it; it's just not falling in," McGinnis said.

That's a switch from the first meeting, as McGinnis said her team made solid contact far more often this time around.

"We had some good at-bats day," she said. "We were much more patient at the plate."

And the Scotties were in the game until the late innings. Garrard scored twice in the fifth inning and four times in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

"We played a good, solid ballgame up until the fifth or sixth inning, and they started ripping the ball," McGinnis said.

A double by Brittany Lane, a single by Meadors and a Mercer error produced the fifth inning runs that made it 5-0. In the sixth inning, Ball led off with a double and Candi Brooks, Lane, Meadors and Brittany Gilbert had RBI singles.

Ball's double capped what she said was her best offensive day of the season. She also singled twice, scored two runs and drove in one.

"I've been waiting a long time for that," she said. "It was due."

Mercer County 0000000-015

Garrard County 101124x-9100

Michelle Wilham and Erin Ashford. Tiffany Meadors and Brittany Gilbert. W-Meadors. L-Wilham. 2B-Brittany Lane (GC), Betsy Ball (GC).

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