DAVIS — An 11-1 start has Davis ranked No. 5 in Class 4A. Still, coach David Griffin isn’t satisfied.
Against Sulphur on Tuesday, he was, at times, displeased with his team’s approach at the plate. Davis rallied to defeat the Bulldogs, 9-8, for the third time in five days. The Wolves erased a 6-0 first-inning deficit. Griffin said one area in need of improvement distinguished itself.
“We try not to hit the ball to the left side as best we can because once you get past here, into the playoffs, you’ve got to be able to hit it where you want to,” Griffin said. “Hit behind the runners. We’ve really been working hard on that. As a matter of fact, the girls do a little extra running if they hit it there [to the left side] unless we tell them, ‘Okay, you can now.’ We’re trying to use the middle and the right side of the field also to be more of a balanced team.”
Griffin said Davis has been relying on its power to this point.
“We’re trying to be able to place it anywhere,” he said. “When fast-pitch comes, when you get your timing on that, we should be able to go that way also,” Griffin said. “My assistant, T.J. Webb, works with them on their hitting. We take a lot of pride in spraying it, instead of hitting it one spot.”
It’s a lesson the Wolves can learn for the upcoming fast-pitch season. Davis’ outfielders are also auditioning for spots for the fall, Griffin said.
Meanwhile, Sulphur (12-5) coach Heath Gilbert said his team became complacent after a six-run burst to open the game. After a lead-off walk to Harlee Griffis, Haley White hit the first home run to get Sulphur on the board first, and Talmage’s second walk put a runner on for Allie Saunders, who clubbed a home run to straightaway center field.
“We didn’t really have any fight in us the rest of the game,” he said. “That’s pretty much what happened.”
Despite losing to Davis twice on April 3, Sulphur was satisfied with its presence on the diamond.
“I thought we came ready to play in that first inning,” Gilbert said. “We were just kind of happy to put the uniform on today. We’ve kind of got to get that mentality to where when you’re playing your rival, you want to win and get ready for the playoffs.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re playing, you want to win.”
On the mound for Davis, after a tumultuous opening inning, Sarah Talmage gave Davis its best chance to win.
“She struggled early in the season,” Griffin said. “When we played Stratford, we walked nine (batters). Since then, she has done great. A lot of it was that wind. She’s really come on for us. She was our pitcher last year when we made it to the state semifinals. She’s just a sophomore. She had a time where she just kind of struggled. She’s back. Once she got loosened up and learned the wind, she was ready.”
Griffin said he told his team early not to hang their heads.
“It’s a slow-pitch game,” he said. “We’ve still got six more innings. We’re going to score some runs. The main thing is we’ve got to stop them and not give them anymore. She (Talmage) did a good job.”
In the bottom of the fifth, freshman Dylen Johnson hit a three-run home run to left field to give Davis an 8-6 lead. The Wolves scored four runs during the previous inning to claw back to within a run.
Sulphur outfielder Jadyn Ramer hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to draw the Bulldogs to within a run, but Talmage escaped to earn the win — despite allowing three two-run home runs.
“We’ve won some close ones, and that’s good,” Griffin said. “That shows that we’ve got a little bit of character. We don’t ever want to lose, but sometimes you need to get beat to wake up. We got beat not too long ago (by Stratford), and it woke us up right before that tournament. Since then, we’ve done really well. I’m proud of them.”