Sulphur retains second place in District 4A-1. Plainview holds third.
Rilee Duck gently slapped her chest a couple times, using her hand imitating her heartbeat, heaviest during the fifth inning because Plainview loaded the bases with no one out.
“I felt like I drank about 15 Red Bulls in that inning,” Duck said. “I was scared to death. When Sami (Skelly) and Rylee (Keith) go up to bat, I expect the worst every time. All I could think about was, honestly, I just did not want to get pulled. I just wanted to get out of it.”
Duck retired three consecutive hitters to escape the inning unscathed with her goal intact.
Skelly dispatched that aspiration an inning later. In her first game back from injury, she hit a grand slam that drew the Lady Indians to within five runs.
Sulphur’s offense responded, as the Lady Bulldogs won 14-4 Monday at Plainview to sweep the two District 4A-1 games.
Sulphur (17-8, 6-2) is second. Plainview (13-10, 6-4) retains third, a game and 12 points ahead of Lone Grove.
“That was my goal, to throw a shutout,” Duck said. She held onto it in the fifth, striking out her counterpart, Hanna Beth Matherly, for the first out. McKenzie Williams flew out to center fielder Ashlie Hedemann. Leah Selensky flew out to second baseman Bekkah Turner.
A frame later, Brooklyn Storts drew her second walk of the game. Hannah Ramirez reached as a hit batsman. Sulphur coach Heath Gilbert brought Taylor McAlister in to pitch. She walked Emily Morgan, the Lady Indians’ No. 9 hitter who drew her second walk.
Skelly homered, cutting Plainview’s deficit to 9-4. Storts’ and Ramirez’s run is charged to Duck.
“It took me a minute to get into it, but once I got into it, it worked out in our favor,” Skelly said. “First game back, it felt pretty good.”
Kady Lynch provided a permanent spark. Leading 1-0 in the fourth, Sulphur’s clean-up hitter stayed back on a change-up from Matherly, hitting a one-out single into left field. It set the stage for a five-run fourth wherein Sulphur stretched its lead to 6-0.
Lynch said she could identify the pitch as it departed Matherly’s right hand.
“You’ve just got to be patient and focus,” Lynch said. “You’ve just got to know what she’s going to pitch to you before you get up to the plate. Coach Gilbert always tells us to think about what she’s pitching when you’re on deck.”
In the seventh, Turner and Payton Szalaj hit two-out RBI triples. MaKella Mobly and Savannah Ashford followed with an RBI double and single, respectively. Sulphur added an unearned run.
The Lady Bulldogs expressed happiness in sweeping Plainview, its third consecutive win against the Lady Indians.
“That feels pretty good,” Duck said. “Sitting in second place right now helps us out a lot.”
Said Lynch, “We hit good. We had some mistakes on defense, but we cleaned that up with our hitting. It’s good to beat Plainview.”
Plainview coach Tim Wade addressed his team for about 10 minutes after the game.
“He just told us we’re fine,” Skelly said. “We have two very big district games left (against Dickson at 5 p.m. today and against Ada on Sept. 22). We’ve got to come out, we’ve got to compete and win. He told us what we needed to work and focus on. ‘We’re going to be OK. We’ve had our ups and our downs, but we’re going to be fine.’”