Southeast Lauderdale High School managed to shake off the rust and did just enough to top Enterprise High School 5-2 in Saturday afternoon prep softball action.
After rain led to a Thursday regional matchup with Philadelphia High School being postponed, the Lady Tigers entered Saturday having not played a game since Monday’s win against Kemper County High School. Enterprise managed to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the third inning, but Southeast Lauderdale finally started getting some hits with runners in scoring position, and Lady Tigers starting pitcher Lauren Yeager kept the Lady Bulldogs at bay the rest of the way.
“I think we were rusty,” Southeast Lauderdale head coach Chris Harper said. “You could tell we hadn’t played in a while with all of the rain, but I did think we battled and did what it took took to win the ball game.”
Both of Enterprise’s runs came in the top of the first inning. After Jordan Goodman was hit by a pitch in the game’s opening at-bat and Sarah Brannan reached base on an error, fielder’s choices by Delaney Davidson and Faith Guy plated Goodman and Brannan. But Yeager buckled down after that, allowing just two hits and striking out six in seven innings of work to secure the win.
“She had one mistake, when she hit the first batter of the game,” Harper said. “She made a couple of mistakes with some locations on the pitches, but for the most part, I never felt like we were threatened, because she was in the game.”
Though there had been a long layoff between Saturday’s game and Monday’s, Yeager said she her fastball and changeup was able to hit their spots, and she never felt too out of sync.
“We come out to practice and work hard every day, just as if we were playing a game,” Yeager explained. “We work just as hard in practice as we do in a game.”
Yeager also said she had all the confidence in the world her team would help get her the win despite falling behind early.
“I just knew my team was going to pick me up,” she said. “My defense was behind me. That one batter I did (hit), I wasn’t worried about it, because I knew we were going to come through.”
Lady Bulldogs coach Davey Dewitt said he was impressed with starting pitcher Emma Herrington’s performance, but there simply wasn’t enough offense to back Herrington up.
“You’re not going to win very many games with (two hits) at all,” Dewitt said. “I thought our pitcher pitched it well. For a seventh-grader to pitch against that lineup — they’re pretty good; they can hit — she did a good job of keeping us in the ball game.
“She got us out of big innings. They had (runners) on second and third I don’t know how many times, but she would make a big pitch and get us out of the inning, and we had (two hits) to support her. That’s not good.”
Southeast Lauderdale tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the third on a fielder’s choice by Abbey Leach that scored Nancy Williams and an RBI single by Katelyn Harper. The Lady Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Williams singled in Nicole Bouldin.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Southeast Lauderdale tacked on two more runs. The first run came when Bouldin tried to steal second base and the throw to second sailed deep into the outfield, giving her time to make it home. The second came when Williams scored on another error.
Herrington took the loss, surrendering six hits and striking out five in six innings of work, but Dewitt had nothing but good things to say about the seventh-grade righty.
“The thing is, she’s so young, I don’t think she understands how big those outs are when she gets them when they have runners in scoring position,” Dewitt said. “She’s coming along really well.”
Enterprise’s Jordan Sisson went 2-for-3 at the plate. For the Lady Tigers, Williams was 1-for-1 with three walks, Yeager went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and Harper finished 2-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.
Southeast Lauderdale (6-0) is scheduled to play at Choctaw County High School Monday, while Enterprise (4-4) will play at Bay Springs High School Monday.