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Originally published: 2014-03-22 08:59:08
Last modified: 2014-03-22 09:01:03

Hibriten pulls away from WHS softball team

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Hibriten used a pair of big innings to cruise past Watauga 12-7 in girls' softball Friday at Watauga's field.

The Pioneers (0-5, 0-4 Northwestern Conference) once held a 4-1 lead in the third inning, but Hibriten responded with a four-run fourth inning and a five-run sixth. That put the Panthers in front 10-5 and made any comeback difficult.

It's not like Watauga didn't attempt to rally. The Pioneers scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth when Elizabeth Dollar ripped a two-run double to bring Watauga to 10-7.

But Hibriten (1-3, 1-2) countered with two runs of its own in the top of the seventh inning on a two-run single by Katie Bruce to go up 12-7.

Watauga coach Stephanie Kostis didn't necessarily like the idea of losing the game, but saw a big improvement from an 11-1 loss to Freedom in six innings two days earlier.

"I am so proud of the girls," Kostis said. "I absolutely hate that we lost. We hate to lose, but we saw a lot of good things. We talked in practice about taking care of the small things. Today, for the most part, we took care of the small things.

That included making just one physical error in the field and cutting down on the mental errors that plagued the Pioneers at Freedom. It also included a play from centerfielder Hope LaPointe. She chased down a Laurie Pennell double, and, with help with a relay from shortstop Kristin Gill, threw Pennell out at third base in the third inning.

"The mental errors were down today," Kostis said. "The small things, like hitting your cutoff man -- we had a great cutoff. We had great angles in the outfield. We had awesome plays, and we had aggressive base running."

Bruce provided Hibriten a play Watauga could not defend that proved costly to the Pioneers. After going 0-for-2 from the plate in the first two innings, Bruce belted a two-run home run in the fourth inning to cap the Panthers' four-run rally and give them a 5-4 lead.

Bruce hit her home run a half-inning after Watauga's Michala McCune cracked a two-run home run in the bottom of the third. McCune hit her shot one batter after Gill drove in two runs with a single.

The Pioneers' four-run third inning gave them a 4-1 lead.

Gill added an RBI single in the fifth inning. She went 2-for-4 from the plate, and was the only Pioneer to finish with two hits.

"We didn't give up and that was great to see," Kostis said. "We were putting base runners on every inning, and we were fighting until the very end. That's what I like to see out of the girls."

Hibriten's leadoff batter, Emma Tuttle did her share of fighting, too. Tuttle went 5-for-5 from the plate, including four singles.

She scored four runs, and hit a two-run triple in the fourth inning one batter before Bruce's home run.

Hibriten finished with 14 hits on McCune, who pitched the entire game for the Pioneers. McCune struck out seven batters and walked three.

The game against Hibriten was the first of four straight at home for Watauga. The Pioneers host Patton on Tuesday, Starmount on Thursday in a nonconference game, and take on Hickory at home on Friday.


Hibriten 12, Watauga 7

Hibriten           100 405 2 -- 12 14 3

Watauga          004 012 0 --   7   8 1

Bruce and Harmon. McCune and Winebarger. W--Bruce, L--McCune. LOB--Hibriten 8, Watauga 5. 2B--Hibriten, Frye, Pennell; Watauga, Dollar. 3B--Hibriten, Tuttle. HR--Hibriten, Bruce; Watauga, McCune. SH--Hibriten, Bruce. SB--Hibriten, Frye 2, Williams. HBP--Watauga, Hawkins (by Bruce).