SALADO — Mixing a scorching fastball with her trademark curve, Salado senior Morgan Hill struck out eight batters in a six-inning, complete-game, 10-0 shutout over Cameron Yoe on Friday afternoon.
“Morgan did an absolutely fantastic job today,” said Salado head coach Kory Craddick.
“Morgan came through for us today,” said Salado left fielder Reagan Best.
Yoe managed five scattered singles off Hill but no Lady Yoe ever advanced as far as third base.
“My curveball is still my go-to pitch,” Hill said. “I used that a lot today with the fastball. I didn’t use any drop-balls.”
Two of Hills’s strikeout victims kept their bats in their hands while looking at a strike-three changeup.
“I love the changeup, too.” Hill said. “I only threw four or five of them all game. But it does keep the hitters off-balance.”
Salado scored six runs in the first inning, led 9-0 after three and tallied once in the sixth to end the contest via the run-rule.
This was the regular-season finale for both teams. Salado’s win moved the Eagles into second place in District 22-2A, passing Academy. Salado is 12-2, Academy 11-3. Had Yoe defeated Salado on Friday, the Lady Yoe would have clinched a playoff spot. Instead Yoe (6-8) will try and play itself into the postseason derby with play-in contests on Monday.
“We started out this game strong, ended it strong and kept our momentum going the whole game,” Hill said.
Best, Salado’s leadoff hitter, smashed a to-the-wall double in the first inning.
“Hitting is contagious,” Best said. “I know if I get on to start the game, the rest of us will get on, and we’ll keep scoring.”
Each of the six Salado batters following Best got on base, the highlight a two-RBI double by Cece Cantu.
Salado had 16 hits total in the game. Leading the way on offense were Best, Shyenne Hicks and Josie Norman, who each went 3 for 4.
“I think we played a lot better today than we normally do,” Norman said. “We had a lot more fun. Usually, we’re tense. We came to a team decision today: let’s play softball for fun and see what happens.”
Hicks concurred that playing the game with “more fun” as a team creed was helpful.
“We had been so tense the past few games,” Hicks said. “This was our last home game and so we made a firm decision to have fun.
“In the first round of district play, we knew we were a solid team. So in the second round we had figured that we’d just kick everybodys’ butt. But little teams like Rosebud and Jarrell were hanging with us and that got us all tense. So, today, we turned things back to where our mindset was in the beginning of the season: have energy, play with intensity, but stay relaxed and have more fun.”
Also for Salado on Friday, Malory Schattle had a single and scored twice, Kristin Oakes was 2 for 2, Jenna Calder had a double, and Meagan Hill had a hit and RBI.
“We took a big step forward today,” said Craddick, who is in his second year as Salado’s head coach. “We saw some good pitches, hit some good pitches, and made some good plays in the field.”
Salado’s first playoff contest, most likely, will be in the latter part of next week.
“I think we have the ability to go to Austin,” Hicks said. “Hopefully, we’ll be playing ball in May.”