COLLEGE STATION — The 2014 Salado Lady Eagles have already advanced further than any previous Salado softball team in school history. On Thursday, No. 10-ranked Salado defeated No. 5 Woodville 10-3 in Game 1 of their Class 2A, best-of-three area semifinals series.
Game 2 is 4 p.m. today in College Station. If necessary, Game 3 would follow.
A few minutes after Game 1 concluded, Salado head coach Kory Craddick talked with the Herald’s Allan Mandell.
Coach, what are your thoughts on this one, start to finish?
Outstanding game. We started off with a run in the first inning and then we gave up two in their half of the first — and we gave up those two runs to a very, very good team. But that showed how mature our team is. Giving up the lead in the first inning didn’t bother us. Our girls just sat back and knew that we were making contact with their pitcher and knew eventually that we’d break through and have some good at-bats.
We were outstanding on offense and outstanding on defense. We made no errors. That’s the first time we’ve had an error-free contest in several games.
The double-steal they tried, you got them at home. Malory Schattle tossed a missile to Jenna Calder.
Heck of a play, wasn’t it? It was unreal. With runners on first and third, I give Malory the option there. She’s such a smart player. She calls our defenses for us. If she doesn’t feel she can get that girl out at second, then she’ll come off the bag and — if that girl is coming home from third — throw it back to home. This time, their girl was coming home. So Malory caught it, she spun, she set her feet and she just rifled that ball back to Jenna. It was perfect. Jenna caught it, put her knees down maybe six inches and had the girl out by, maybe, a foot. It was a play you see made in the major leagues, not usually in high school softball. Pretty impressive.
And how about Malory at the plate? Double, walk, three runs, and, to top it all off, a 185-foot bases-clearing triple.
Malory needed this. She struggled a little bit last weekend. She needed it for her and for the rest of the girls. Like I heard Malory say a little earlier to you — if she can’t do the job, she’s not really worried because there are other girls that can do the job.
Shyenne Hicks will hit. Josie Norman came through with good hits tonight.
Malory lacing that triple over the left-fielder’s head was something special to watch. I don’t know that the hit ever got in flight above the wall. It was just a straight line shot and it was very impressive.
We assume that Shyenne Hicks having a big game tonight —single, double, three RBIs — was no surprise to you. It’s what you expect out of her, correct?
Exactly. She’s been a good leader for us this year. She’s really found herself in some pressure situations and she always tries to make the best of those situations. Far more often than not, she comes through for us.
We’re running out of adjectives for Morgan Hill. From the fifth inning on, when you’d think she might get a little tired, her already-fast fastball actually seemed to pick up speed.
Yes, she got in a groove. Pitching, like hitting, can be contagious. Once we scored four runs in the fifth inning, the girls wanted to score four more in the sixth — and then we got those four more runs.
And all that energy was contagious. Morgan was throwing good in the bottom of the fourth and she went back out there in the fifth and her pitching was fantastic. As usual, she gave it her all. She got in a groove and kept going.
How about your teams’ defense and Malory’s defense tonight overall?
Tonight is the perfect example of the way Malory plays defense — she plays her heart out. And so does our entire team. We get after it and we always try to make the plays. If we don’t, we dust ourselves up — and get ready to make the next play.