BENTON — The Lady Wildcats may not be hitting quite as well as coach Bill Triplett would like, but the Polk County team certainly has the pitching and defense to make up for it.
Briana Muller came in for her 10th game Monday evening and was able to strike out nine Loudon batters, while giving up only three hits and one walk in Polk County’s 7-1 win over the Lady Redskins.
“I’ve preached from December on that you’re not always going to hit. You’ve got to pitch and catch it, and we’ve had outstanding pitching all year,” Triplett explained. “I think that’s (Briana’s) 10th game and we’ve just had great pitching the whole time. We’ve played pretty good defense, so that will win you a lot of games.”
The Lady Wildcats (8-2, 2-0) got on the board in the bottom of the second.
Macie Waldroup knocked the ball deep into center field, which brought Bates home from second base.
A Loudon error aided Polk in loading up the bases with only one out.
A second out came when Aubrie Bowan’s fly ball was caught by the Loudon second baseman.
Kaitlyn Williams stepped up to the plate and was able to drive Ashlynn Johnson in for the final run of the inning.
The fourth inning proved to be Polk’s best, as Muller struck out all three Lady Redskin batters before her team went on to add three more runs to their score.
Ashlynn Johnson got things going in the bottom of the fourth with a double, which Waldroup followed up with a single.
Felecia Johnson came up to bat and was able to advance the runners to third and second base with a sacrifice bunt.
Bowan made sure that sacrifice was not in vain, as she knocked out a double that drove in both Ashlynn Johnson and Waldroup.
Williams’ hit was enough to drive Bowan in from second base for the third and final run of the inning.
Another Polk run was scored in the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, Emily Bates stepped up to the plate and blasted a double back to the center-field fence.
Ashlynn Johnson’s follow-up hit was enough to bring Bates in for the sixth Lady Wildcat run.
In the top of the sixth, Loudon was able to get its only run of the game.
The lone Lady Redskin who earned a walk in the entire game was able to steal a base, and then was brought in on a double.
The fifth error by Loudon gave Polk County its seventh and final run of the game.
The top of the seventh finished with a quick three outs, one of which came from Muller’s ninth strikeout of the game.
“Anytime we can get a district win, I’ll take it. Ashlynn Johnson came in and had a couple of big hits and Kaitlyn Williams had some big hits,” Triplett stated. “We played good and were solid all the way around.”
The Lady Wildcats have a busy District 5-AA schedule this week, as they travel to Sequoyah today and then get on the bus again Thursday and head to Loudon.
“Sequoyah is a solid ball club. With our club, if we play well we will be OK, and if we don’t, well it’s an old cliché but if you don’t play good defense, you won’t win ball games,” Triplett stated.
LADY WILDCATS 7, LADY REDSKINS 1
Loudon 000 001 0 — 1 3 5
Polk County 020 311 x — 7 11 1
WP: Briana Muller 7 IP, 9 K, 3 H. 2B: Ashlynn Johnson, Emily Bates, Aubrie Bowan (PC). Highlights: Macie Waldroup 2-3, RBI, run, A. Johnson 2-3, RBI, 2 runs, Kaitlyn Williams 2-4, 2 RBI, Bates 2-4, 2 runs, Bowan 1-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs (PC). Records: Polk County 8-2, 2-0 District 5-AA.