The ball shot off Andelyn Irons bat and sailed over the left field fence, dropping 20 feet beyond the wall.
And just like that, the Temple bats, which only accounted for one run against Belton and Waco Midway, were alive again. The first-inning homer run put Temple up 3-0 early and it cruised to a 14-3 win over the Ellison Lady Eagles at Ellison on Friday.
“It feels good to be able to hit again and build some confidence back in our game,” Temple coach Julie Goodman said. “That was fun and we got to do a lot of things we have not been able to do — hit-and-runs, home runs and a squeeze play — to get our game back.”
On the mound, Temple pitcher Lexi Smith was nearly flawless for the first four innings, striking out the side in both the second and third innings and not surrendering a hit.
Ellison sophomore Alexis Watson broke up the no-hitter in the fifth, stroking an RBI triple that scored sophomore
Kennedy Connell, who had walked to lead off the inning.
“One thing I have stressed with this team is that we cannot quit,” Ellison coach Rebecca Daley said. “There are teams that out-match us on paper ... teams that have superstar players. But, it doesn’t matter who we are against or what their record is, we have to play our game and that is never quitting.”
Temple put seven runs on the scoreboard early, beginning with the first-inning bomb, and added a run in each of the next four innings. Taylor Ward, Kaegan Jimenez and Taylor Valentin, who was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs, all had RBI singles in the stretch.
The Tem-Cats (12-10-1, 2-2 8-5A) piled it on in the sixth. An error allowed Irons, who finished 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBIs, to score and then Smith and Tori Porubsky had back-to-back RBI singles to put Temple up 10-1.
In the seventh, the Tem-Cats kept up the hot hitting. Valentin smacked an RBI triple, Irons laid down a bunt single to drive in a run and C.J. Anderson capped things off crushing a two-run homer that again sailed over the left field wall.
“Those home runs put the momentum on your side and it gives you the confidence to go out there and play solid defense behind your pitcher and makes you feel good,” Goodman said.
Ellison (3-18, 1-3) fought back in its last at- bat as Smith began to lose the control that helped her dominate early in the game. Jorie Monge led off with a bunt single, she went to second on a passed ball and then scored on a wild pitch. Her sister, Mickey Monge walked, stole second and scored on another passed ball that was high and barely within reach.
Despite the late-game control issues, though, Smith again finished with a dominant line, giving up only two hits and striking out 14.
“Lexi did well. At the end she did not have the control that she usually does,” Goodman said. “But it was a good game overall and she pitched well. It was just a long game.”
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569