McLouth overcomes errors, sweeps Perry-Lecompton
In the week leading up to its season opener, the McLouth High softball team was confined to the gym. It showed on the defensive side Monday at Perry-Lecompton, but the Bulldogs didn't miss a beat with their bats.
MHS pounded out a combined 37 runs in a two-game sweep of the Kaws. Led by senior pitcher Kendra Leach, the team opened its 2012 campaign with 18-6 and 19-10 victories.
"We knew we were going to give up a few more runs this year, but I was a little disappointed in the way our defense played," coach Ballard Patterson said. "We had way too many mistakes. I'm happy with the wins, but not satisfied with our defense."
Leach and company found themselves in a 4-4 tie after two innings in the first game, but broke things open with a four-run third. Leach, who signed with the University of Missouri-Kansas City last November, held PLHS to just two more runs the rest of the way. Her offense backed her up with nine runs in the fifth and one more in the seventh for the final margin of victory.
In addition to striking out 10 batters, Leach helped her own cause at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a home run and three runs batted in. Taylor Pope and Olivia Evans each went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Jordan Erickson paced the Lady Kaws, going 4-for-4.
Erickson gave Leach problems all day, going a combined 8-for-9 with a double and a homer.
"She is the best hitter we've faced since I've been coaching here," Patterson said of Erickson. "She just hit the ball wherever we threw it."
Leach pitched the second game as well and sat on the wrong side of an 8-5 score after four four, but once again, a fifth-inning outburst gave the Bulldogs the lead for good. They reeled off seven in the fifth, and PLHS only answered with one in the bottom of the inning. Any remaining doubt was erased when MHS added six more runs in the seventh.
Unlike in the opener, Leach had to use her off-speed pitches in the late innings of the second game. She finished with six strikeouts.
"She had to get crafty," Patterson said. "I think she needed to see that she could win without relying on the fastball. She needs to let that changeup work, too."
Marissa Raya enjoyed a solid game at the plate, going 4-for-5 with three RBI. After drawing three walks, Konner Patterson did some damage with a bases-clearing triple.
MHS will return to the diamond at 4:30 p.m. Monday when it plays host to Pleasant Ridge.
MHS 224 090 1 — 18
PLHS 220 110 0 — 6
Leading hitters: Kendra Leach 4-5, HR, 3 RBI; Taylor Pope 2-3, 2 RBI; Olivia Evans 2-3, 2 RBI.
MHS 113 071 6 — 19
PLHS 200 610 1— 10
Leading hitters: Marissa Raya 4-5, 3 RBI; Konner Patterson 1-1, 3 RBI.