Lady Cougars work on mound depth;whip Meridian
By By Jeff Byrd / sports editor
March 30, 2003
DECATUR Defending Class 3A champion Newton County is getting ready for another run at a state title. One way to get prepared is to have its pitching rotation in order.
The Lady Cougars worked on that phase on Saturday afternoon beating a vastly improved Meridian High club 14-4 at the Lady Cougars' softball complex.
Newton County improves to 16-3 on the season. Meridian slips to 12-4.
Lady Cougar head coach Mack Fanning rested normal Lady Cougar starter Lauren Barrett and had Joy Cavanaugh in the circle against Meridian.
Little didn't get to work a second inning of relief because Newton County scored three runs in the bottom half of the fifth to end the game by run-rule, 14-4.
Meridian High also tried to build its pitching depth by starting freshman Ebonee Ball. Normal, every-day pitcher Erin Murphy played second base.
Trailing 3-2, Newton County took advantage of Meridian fielding mistakes to erupt for a nine-run rally.
The first miscue occurred when Barrett laid down a bunt in front of Ball. Instead of getting the easy out, Ball threw the ball to third which meant a tag. Holly Jackson was already safely in.
A wild pitch later sent Jackson in with the tying run. Two batters later, Suzanne Chaney singled up the middle to score Barrett for a 4-3 lead.
A walk to Dominque Mapp was followed by a bases-clearing double from Jennifer Smith. The three-run double upped Newton County's lead to 7-3.
Shelly Ferguson then sent a hit into left which saw the Meridian defender fall down allowing Smith and a hustling Ferguson to score to make it 10-3.
Barrett reached and scored for the second time in the at-bat to complete the 9-run outburst.
Meridian got a run back in the fourth when Laura Bowles walked and then scored on a double by Murphy.
Ball pitched a scoreless third and fourth innings but then ran into more trouble in the fifth. Suzanne Chaney led off with walk, one of 10 issued to the Lady Cougars in the game. Mapp then singled to score Chaney to make it 12-4.
Leading 13-4, Newton County ended the game when pinch-hitter Jessica Sheehan singled to score Little for the 14th run.
Ferguson went 2-for-4 against Meridian. Smith was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI. Suzanne Chaney was 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Mapp and Barrett each scored twice.
Bowles had a RBI single in the second inning and scored a run in the third. Artesian Boyd had a double and a run scored in the second. Jessica Linton and Megan Patton both scored in Meridian's three-run second inning that erased a 2-0 Lady Cougar lead.