By Clay Fowler
Killeen Daily Herald
Assistant softball coach John Renteria said his new pitcher is difficult to rattle.
Megan Brown, a junior move-in from Illinois, proved him right on Tuesday.
Brown allowed just three earned runs to the fourth-ranked team in the state, A&M Consolidated, in a 4-0 loss on Tuesday.
"Nothing phases Megan," said Renteria. "She always thinks she can throw strikes. She's very composed on the mound."
All three of her earned runs came in the fifth inning. Some above average defense could have arguably negated all of them.
Fielding a fifth-inning squeeze bunt, Brown's throw home was in time, just too hard from too close for catcher Samantha Berg. Two runs scored on the play.
The first RBI of the fifth was a towering fly ball to left field jostled by a stiff incoming wind, the only play Shelby Ratliff didn't make during a busy night in left. The ball dropped, allowing A&M's speedy leadoff hitter, Katie Hunton, to score from first.
But Brown and the Grey Wolves (5-11, 0-2 District 13-5A) stranded six runners through the first four innings.
In the first, the bases were loaded with one out before Brown induced a pop-up to first baseman Alysha Currie and a fly ball to Brittany Best in right field. She sandwiched a one-out single with strikeouts in the second. After Ratliff gunned down a runner at home from left field Ashton Fahl snared a line drive at shortstop to end the fourth inning.
"Once we got into the third and fourth innings I think they were feeling some pressure," said SHS head coach Kelly Berg. "We thought 'Maybe we can push this team.'"
Despite their second straight district loss the Grey Wolves have reason for encouragement.
"I like this group," said Berg. "We may have the right girls on this team to be very good."
Girls' track stars compete in Temple
Girls track coach Karen Koehler's system awards a star for each event improved upon from the previous meet.
In addition to its third-place finish in Saturday's Temple relays, her team earned 31 stars out of a possible 40.
"It was like night and day from the team I took to Bryan the week before," said Koehler of SHS' sixth-place finish in the season-opening Viking relays Feb. 24. "After they got on the track in Bryan and saw that they had to adjust, they did."
Tabbitha Ashford set school records in the mile (5:43) and two-mile (12:17.23) in Temple finishing second in each to Belton's Skyler Alford. Lacey Morrison set a school record in the 800 (2:24.2), finishing 11 hundredths of a second behind the first-place Converse Judson runner.
Cherise Perry finished third in the high jump (5 feet) and sixth in the 100-meter hurdles (16.06). Makesha Brewer and Denise Brown were third (1:00.43) and fourth (1:00.93) respectively in the 400 meters.
The 1600-meter relay team of Brewer, Brown, Morrison and Vanessa Jackson was third (4:06.59). The 400-meter relay team of Brewer, Ashlea Patterson, Kenyetta Fusilier and Cita Medina finished fourth (50.15).
Mirhonika Wilson's discus throw of 108 feet, two inches was good for fourth and Raquel Britton's two-mile time of 13:23, fifth.
The boys finished sixth in Temple.
The Wolves' 400-meter relay team took first place with a time of 42.62 seconds. SHS finished third in one event, fourth in four events, fifth in three and sixth in one.
Player of the week:
Brown held No. 4 A&M Consolidated scoreless until the fifth inning of Shoemaker's 4-0 loss on Tuesday. She allowed three earned runs on six hits and seven walks, striking out three.
Statistic of the week: 9
Total number of A&M Consolidated runners left on base in the softball team's Tuesday loss.