Missy Gators’ bats come alive in loss to Jags| [8/16/06]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Vicksburg High coach Laura Coulter was jumping for joy over her team’s offensive success against Madison Central on Tuesday.

When it came to defense, she was less enthused.

The Missy Gators committed five errors that helped stake Madison to a big early lead, and the Lady Jags poured it on with 18 hits to cruise to a 17-5 win at Halls Ferry Park.

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Ashley Norman led Madison’s onslaught by going 3-for-3 with a home run, triple and three RBIs. Brittany Hobson was 4-for-4 and Sarah Bergin drove in four runs – three of them on a home run in the second inning.

Olivia King had two hits and scored two runs for the Missy Gators (0-2), who collected 10 hits. That allowed Coulter to take some positives out of the one-sided loss.

&#8220We’re getting better. We’re hitting the ball. Our defense has got to get a little better. We’re young and still working on the fundamentals,” Coulter said. &#8220We need to see some positives, but we know there’s negatives out there. We’ve got to keep digging.”

Three Missy Gators errors helped Madison (3-0) jump to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, but VHS answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Three straight singles by Claire Ray, King and Ebony Martin brought in Vicksburg’s first run and an RBI fielder’s choice by Savannah Pritchard cut it to 4-2.

After that, it was all Madison.

Sarah McGowen led off the second inning with a single, and scored on Norman’s two-run homer two batters later. After singles by Rachel Fairchild and Hobson, Bergin drove a ball to deep right and circled the bases for a three-run homer that made it 9-2. RBI singles by Claire Pride and McGowen capped the outburst and left the Lady Jags with an 11-2 advantage.

The third inning was more of the same, only with shorter hits. Norman’s RBI triple was the only extra base hit among six hits Madison collected during a six-run inning. A Vicksburg error and several ill-advised or slow relay throws gave Madison a number of extra bases and contributed to the outburst.

Even so, Vicksburg kept fighting. It rallied for two runs in the third inning – on RBI singles by Mary Quinn DeRossette and Kiera Young – to stave off the 15-run mercy rule and scored again in the fourth to cut it to 17-5. King popped up into a double play, however, and the game was ended by the 10-run mercy rule.

The late rally left Coulter hopeful about the Missy Gators’ future.

&#8220Since our offense has gotten going, maybe the defense can come on a little bit, too,” she said.