Meridian Star

October 15, 2013

Enterprise blasts Eupora, moves to second round

Sarah Moomaw
Meridian Star

ENTERPRISE — The Enterprise slow-pitch softball team is continuing its long postseason success after clinching a second round berth in the state playoffs, sweeping Eupora, 10-0 and 12-6, on Tuesday.

    “I was a little nervous coming in,” Lady Bulldog head coach Davey Dewitt said. “That's not your typical first round opponent. Not at all. They split with East Webster in their district. They are a really good team.”

    With the first round done, Dewitt said his team has an appetite for more. In 2012, the Bulldogs were denied state titles in slow-pitch and fast-pitch after reaching the championship series. They finished the 2013 regular season at 17-7, improving to 19-7 after the first round wins.

    “They know what it takes to get there,” Dewitt said. “They are really hungry. They don't want to lose it again, but it's going to take a lot to get there. We've got a long road to go. It's going to be hard. The two more playoff games is going to be hard.”

    Dewitt said Enterprise was pushed through the first round by clutch at bats, solid defense and a solid pitching effort.

    “I was proud of them,” he said. “We had some big two-out hits, we hit the ball in the gaps and we ran the bases good. I was really proud of our girls.”

    The defensive effort was led by third baseman Emmalee Roberts, who used her fast-pitch arm to gun down runners from across the infield. Additionally, Dewitt tooted the horn of his middle infield, which turned two double plays and picked up multiple putouts before the nights end.

    “We've turned a lot of double plays this year,” DeWitt said. “We're pretty solid up the middle with the two we got there and in the pitching circle. Defensively, Emmalee had a great game at third base.”

    The Bulldogs came out ready and scored early in Game 1, jumping out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning. They exploded in the second for another five runs to put the game out of reach, 8-0.

    The big inning was highlighted by a two-out, two-run single by Roberts. She'd rounded the bases and scored two batters later on an error by Eupora shortstop Marlee Ray to cap the inning.

    The Eagles threatened in the third inning with back-to-back hitters reaching base. With two on and two out, Kendall Gibson hit a fly ball to center field at the wall, except Enterprise's Katie Jo Riley caught it on the run to save multiple runs.

    “That saved two runs right there, maybe three runs,” Dewitt said. “That was an unbelievable catch.”

    Bulldog pitcher Harley Smith held the Eagles to five hits in five innings of work. Her teammates made sure she didn't have to retake the mound by enforcing the run rule after sending only four batters to the plate. Brittany Hagward drove in the final two runs with a single, ending the game at 10-0.

    Enterprise repeated the early effort in Game 2, but didn't hold as strong towards then as the Eagles got on the board.

    “They started finding those holes here at the end. Team like that, you given them an inch, they're going to take it,” Dewitt said.

    With a 7-0 lead entering the top of the third, Blakley Riley tripled to deep center field, driving in Katie Jo Riley. The Eagles couldn't retaliate as they stranded two base runners in the bottom half. Smith retired the side in the fourth before allowing the first run of the day in the fifth inning.

    Brittany Cooper scored on Ray's two-out single.

    The Bulldogs were held scoreless in the fourth and fifth but tacked on three in the top of the six. Roberts tripled, scoring Smith and Delaney Davidson with no outs. Jess Turner grounded out to first base, but earned the RBI as Roberts came home to take an 11-1 lead.

    Had the Eagles not scored, the game would have been over but they weren't quite done. Eupora exploded for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead to 11-5. Courtney Hatcher unleashed a two-run home to left center field to force a seventh inning. Mays earned her second RBI of the game as she reached on an error in the outfield allowing Cooper to come home.

    Each side added a run in the seventh for the final score, 12-6. Roberts lead the Lady Bulldogs going four-for-five with 6 RBIs. Harley Smith finished the night five-for-seven with five RBIs.

    “We kind of relaxed there, we sat on our lead and kind of relaxed,” Dewitt said. “That's something we can't do the further we go in playoffs.”

    Enterprise will host Taylorsville on Saturday in Round 2.