Morton helps Lady Spartans top Lady Elks
After watching Gracie Morton shred offerings in her first two at-bats Friday, Burleson softball coach Summer Owen had no intention of letting the senior do any more damage.
But fate intervened.
Before Owen could call for an intentional walk from the visiting dugout, she and her coaching staff could only watch as Morton sent a thigh-high inside pitch high over the centerfield wall for a two-run home run.
“There was a miscommunication with someone yelling hurry up in the stands,” Owen said. “We weren’t going to pitch to Gracie Morton, we were getting stats on the next girl. The catcher thought the umpire said to hurry up.”
Owen said she talked to home plate umpire and he said he’d never tell a pitcher to hurry up.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Owen said.
The blast gave the Lady Spartans a 6-3 lead. Centennial added a pair of runs in the sixth inning and held on for an 8-7 District 9-5A win and a sweep of the Lady Elks.
“That was a huge win for us,” Morton said. “We haven’t had the season that we have hoped for but coming into tonight we were really pumped up and ready. It’s so good to come out and beat Burleson. It gives us an attitude and sense of fire for the rest of district play.”
Morton, a Memphis signee, went 3-for-3 with two home runs and five RBI. She hit a three-run home in the first inning.
“I’m proud of these girls for coming out and busting their tails tonight,” Centennial coach Shannon Sullivan said. “They would get a run and we’d come back with a run. We stayed focused all night. Never did I see a dropped head or a misstep. All 15 of them did a good job of staying in the game.”
Down 6-3 the Lady Elks didn’t give in.
Burleson cut the lead to 6-5 in the sixth inning on Natali Wheeler’s two-run home run. The Lady Spartans answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning on Casey Hendrixson’s run-scoring triple and a wild pitch that brought home Hendrixson.
“Those extra runs late were key,” Sullivan said. “Having those extra runs in the late innings gave our pitchers some breathing room.”
Centennial needed those runs as Burleson added two runs in the seventh inning on run-scoring hits by Julie Farley and Maddie McGovern all with two out. The Lady Elks loaded the bases on a single by Bridgette Montes and an intentional walk to Wheeler.
Serena Bersuch, who started the game for Centennial, re-entered the game and induced a pop out to center field from Lauren Isbell to end the game.
“We fought hard and we kept tacking on runs,” Owen said. “But even tacking on runs shows you that if we hadn’t done some silly things (earlier in the game) we would have had an easier time of it. We made it harder on ourselves and where we had to fight that hard. Centennial played their game, they didn’t falter.”
The Lady Elks ran themselves out of an inning in the first when Audrey Schneidmiller lined a two-out single to center field but Isbell was indecisive on the play and got thrown out at third to end the inning. Brailey Wasik, who was on deck, hit a leadoff home run in the second inning to cut the Lady Spartans lead to 3-1.