Watauga's softball team beats Happy Valley
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga's softball team found out that even a seven-run lead has to be protected.
The Pioneers led Happy Valley (Tenn.) by seven in the top of the seventh inning, but had to work to stop a three run rally in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Warriors Wednesday.
Watauga built an 8-1 lead, but saw Happy Valley score three runs before Pioneers' third baseman Rachel Cox grabbed Sydney Puckett's sharply hit line drive to end the game. Watauga was never in serious danger of losing, but found out that Happy Valley was not ready to give up. The Pioneers, playing their third game in three games, play South Caldwell at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Pioneers coach Stephanie Kostis was able to put everybody on the roster into the game. She was happy with how each Pioneer play.
"Every single person on the team has something they did positive today," Kostis said. "And every single person on the team has something they can improve on. When you are in that position, you're in a good position as a team."
Watauga held a 2-0 lead, but broke the game wide open with a four-run rally in the fourth inning. The inning started with a solo home run from Michala McCune. The key hit was a three-RBI double by Riley Pudney, whose hit gave the Pioneers a 6-0 lead.
Pudney, who led off for the Pioneers, reached base in all four of her at-bats. She doubled and walked three times.
"We had a great inning," Kostis said. "We had some great hits and Riley had the RBIs. I was proud of the girls."
Watauga finished with eight hits and benefitted from five walks. Kim Robinson added two doubles in going 2-for-4.
Robinson also reached base on an error in the first inning, which drove in Taylor Drummonds. Robinson scored on a ball hit by McCune, which put the Pioneers in front 2-0.
Hope LaPoint also doubled and scored in the fifth inning. It was her third double in two games after hitting two of them Tuesday against Alexander Central.
"She's been coming in extra really wanting to work on her hitting," Kostis said of LaPointe. "She's been hitting consistently all week, but she felt like she had something she needed to work on. You can always work to improve and that's what she's done."
Happy Valley collected six hits off three Watauga pitchers. Robinson pitched the first two innings, and Megan Jackson pitched the next two. McCune finished the game by throwing the next three.
Kaylee Street had two RBI singles for Happy Valley, including one in the seventh inning. Kalee Johnson also had two hits, and Allison Williams tripled and scored in the seventh. The Warriors left 10 runners on base.
Watauga 8, Happy Valley 4
Happy Valley 000 010 3 -- 4 6 3
Watauga 200 411 X -- 8 8 2
Simmons, Johnson (6) and Street. Robinson, Jackson (3), McCune (6) and S. Drummonds, Winebarger (3). W--Robinson, L--Simmons. LOB--Happy Valley 10, Watauga 5. 2B--Watauga, Pudney, Robinson 2, LaPointe. 3B--Happy Valley, Williams. HR--Watauga, McCune. HBP--Happy Valley, Simmons (by Jackson)