Defense lifts Mercer past Burgin

May 26, 2004|JILL ERWIN

BURGIN - Mercer County made every play it could defensively, and Burgin couldn't match that effort.

Mercer pitcher Michelle Wilham faced the minimum number of batters, giving up just one hit and no walks, in a six-inning, 10-0 win in the first round of the 46th District Tournament here Tuesday.

Burgin's lone runner came when Stephanie Stewart singled with one out in the third inning. However, she was quickly caught in a rundown and tagged out by Mercer shortstop Marci Wilham.

Michelle Wilham set Burgin down in order on six strikeouts, six fly balls and five groundouts. The win gave Mercer a berth in the 12th Region Tournament, the first time anyone on the Scotties' roster will play in the region.


"We've really been working on our defense," Mercer coach Kristal McGinnis said. "The girls were bound and determined to not let anything get past them. They knew Burgin would be out for blood, and our girls really wanted to win. They wanted to go to the region."

Game began Monday

The game began Monday, but was postponed for lightning. Tuesday's game picked up in the bottom half of the first, after Burgin had gone down in order Monday.

With one out, Michelle Wilham reached on a Burgin error and advanced to third on the same error. Erin Ashford knocked her in with a single two pitches later.

"We usually struggle early," McGinnis said. "If we fall behind early, it's hard for us to get ourselves back in the game. The fact we jumped out early was key for us."

Only four of the Scotties' 10 runs were earned.

"The first run gave them some momentum. We were just not able to execute," Burgin coach Matt Grimes said. "We make good plays at times. But errors have been an ugly shadow that has followed us around this field all year long. It's something we should have gotten rid of by now."

Errors hurt the Bulldogs

The Bulldogs hadn't, and it came back to haunt them again in the fourth inning. With Mercer leading 3-0, Lauren Wiley led off with an infield single and stole second. Lindy Crowell reached on a passed ball after missing strike three, and Kim Byrd reached on a Burgin error, scoring Crowell. After a popout, another Burgin error scored Crowell, and Ashley Fowler followed with a two-run single. Brittany Martt walked, Danni Yeager's single scored Fowler and Martt scored on a second single by Wiley.

That was six runs, three earned, on four hits. Burgin could never get anything remotely close to that going, as everything the Bulldogs hit found a Mercer glove.

"Taking nothing away from Mercer County, because they're a very good team, but we made it awfully easy today," Grimes said. "We made contact, but we hit it right to them."

Wiley had three singles, while Ashford and Yeager had two each. Marci Wilham tripled for Mercer.

Taylor Bottoms took the loss for Burgin, striking out nine, walking six and giving up 10 hits.

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