SALADO—Shyenne Hicks had both a double and triple in a 13-run, fourth-inning Salado offensive explosion, and the host Lady Eagles whipped Clifton 15-4 on Thursday night.
Salado leads the bi-district best-of-three playoff series 1-0.
“The fourth-inning was fantastic for us,” said Hicks, who ended the contest 3 for 3 with three RBIs. “Our bats got going. We kept our composure and never panicked even though we had been trailing.”
Clifton parlayed a second-inning walk and single into two runs and led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Lady Eagle Grace Tauferner led off the fourth with a single and was followed by Meagan Hill who drew a walk. Then Reagan Best hit a single and Morgan Hill smashed a 2-RBI hit to tie the score 2-2.
Malory Schattle then walked and Hicks followed with a rocket down the left-field line for a two-RBI double. Josie Norman followed with an RBI grounder, Kristin Oakes drew a walk and Cece Cantu had an RBI single, lifting Salado to a 6-2 lead.
Meagan Hill kept things rolling with a 2-RBI triple to right-center.
“It felt smooth coming off the bat,” Meagan said. “I’d been in a little slump lately so it felt good to get my bat going.”
Best followed Meagan Hill with an RBI single and then Morgan Hill had another base hit.
Then Schattle had a 2-RBI double. Hicks followed with a missile that kissed off the right-field wall.
“I saw Coach (Kory) Craddick giving me the stop sign at second, but I was already heading to third,” Hicks said.
“Shyenne was motoring past second so then I yelled, ‘OK, come on!’ and she made it into third safely,” Craddick said. “Shyenne had a great game, and so did our whole team.”
Hicks ended up scoring from third and Salado led 13-2 after four. Due to the way Salado ace Morgan Hill was dealing in the circle, all suspense was gone.
Clifton did manage two cosmetic runs in the fifth—one earned, one unearned—and then Salado finished this contest up by run-rule with two more scores in its half of the fifth. Both Salado fifth-inning runs were driven in by a Schattle double.
“I just felt I had to come through for my team tonight,” said Schattle, whose four RBIs were a game-high. “Clifton came out strong. Both teams had to battle tonight. Then we jumped on them in the fourth inning.”
Morgan Hill was the winning pitcher, striking out four and yielding just two hits in the five-inning contest.
“This game went perfectly for us,” Morgan said. “We were going up against a very good playoff opponent and we stayed steady the whole time. My defense backed me up very well. Now, we have to play this well again on Saturday.”
Clifton hosts Game 2 at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We came out with a lot of energy tonight,” said Best who was 4 for 5 at the plate. “That helped us a lot.”
“I’m excited by the way we played tonight,” Craddick said. “And I want to give credit to our bench for helping energize us. We brought up a lot of JV girls for the playoffs and they were very vocal in the dugout. They weren’t disrespectful at all to our opponent. They just kept up the enthusiasm and I think that helped propel our starters to play better.
“Now, we have to play this well again on Saturday.”