Deborah Hamilton started Shoemaker’s outburst. Then, she punctuated it.
Playing in their second game in less than 24 hours, the Lady Grey Wolves went without a hit through the first two innings of their Saturday afternoon game against visiting Waco.
In her second at-bat, however, Hamilton sparked the offense.
The senior recorded Shoemaker’s first hit on a single to left-center field, igniting an eight-run, seven-hit top of the third inning responsible for propelling the Lady Grey Wolves to a 10-0 victory stopped in the fifth inning via run rule.
Following the win, Hamilton admitted feeling a need to produce.
“I was really excited,” the centerfielder said, “because I had the chance to get the team going. Being the leadoff hitter, part of my job is to get things moving.
“So, I’m just glad I accomplished that goal today.”
She also helped put the Lady Lions away.
After hitting through the lineup, Hamilton returned to the plate for a second time in the third inning and delivered a three-RBI double to put the Lady Grey Wolves’ eighth unanswered run on the scoreboard.
“She is just relaxed this season,” Shoemaker head coach Steve Mattox said, “and her bat is flowing real nice. She is whaling on the ball, but she is a smart hitter who looks at a lot of balls and makes pitchers work.
“She is just in a groove.”
While Hamilton, who went 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a run scored, started and finished the Lady Grey Wolves’ scoring surge, she had plenty of help.
On the heels of Hamilton’s game-opening shot, teammate Tamera Johnson recorded an RBI before Darlene Estrella, Madalyne Martinez, Madelyn Morua, Lynda Nena and Kasia Nelson combined for five consecutive singles. Each proceeded to cross home plate as well.
Then, in the fourth inning, Nena (2 for 2, 2 runs, RBI) increased Shoemaker’s lead to 10-0 off Hamilton’s RBI, and Waco could not respond in the top of the fifth inning. Martinez struck out the first two batters, increasing her strikeout total to nine before earning her second no-hitter of the season.
“I know all my teammates have my back,” Martinez said, “so I’m going to work my hardest, and hopefully, that’s good enough.
“I have confidence they will get any out, and that makes things a lot easier on my arm.”
With the victory, the Lady Grey Wolves improved to 4-1 in District 12-6A, placing them third in the standings, and while a substantial amount of work remains before claiming a rare playoff berth for the program, the early accomplishment has significance.
“Once you start winning,” Mattox said, “that feeling stays with you. Then, winning becomes the routine.
“We’re developing the mentality that we’re here to play, and the other team is going to have to beat us, because we’re going to play hard.”
Hamilton echoed the sentiment.
“I feel confident about our chances of making the playoffs,” she said. “Other people have told us what we can’t do, but I’m confident we can prove them wrong.
“But in the end, we have to adjust and be able to play to our potential.”
SATURDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Belton 26, Killeen 2, 4 innings
- Shoemaker 10, Waco 0, 5 innings
- Temple 26, Ellison 5, 4 innings
- Waco Midway 16, Harker Heights 1, 5 innings