By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
When you give a team a four-run lead before ever picking up a bat — you’re usually in for a long day.
And, that’s exactly what happened to David Dorsey and the Somerset Lady Jumpers yesterday afternoon, when arch-rival Southwestern rolled into Somerset High School.
Dorsey’s club made a valiant comeback attempt, but on a day when the Lady Warriors banged out 14 hits off of Lauren Rice, Somerset couldn’t make it all the way back, falling to Southwestern by a final tally of 12-6.
Sydney Fourman picked up the win for Southwestern in yesterday’s tilt, and it was her two-run blast to deep right field in the top of the first inning off of Rice, that gave the Lady Warriors a quick, 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile on the mound, Fourman retired nine of the first 10 hitters she faced, and had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning, before Somerset’s bats finally came to life — albeit momentarily.
Still, this day belonged to Fourman and the Lady Warriors with the 12-6 victory over Somerset, improving Jim Woodall’s club to 9-4 on the season.
“We felt good with the early lead to some degree, but you know how David Dorsey and his teams are — they will eat your lunch if you open the door, and we did a couple of times by making some boo-boo’s out there,” stated the Lady Warrior coach.
“They capitalized on some of our mistakes and cut our lead to 6-4, but our kids stepped up and had the answer, which was huge for us tonight,” added the Southwestern coach.
Early on, this one was all Southwestern, as Woodall and company quickly built up a 6-0 lead over Somerset through three innings of play.
Fourman’s two-run shot was just part of the story in the top of the first, as the Lady Warriors would tack on two more markers for a 4-0 lead.
Angel Beasley’s sacrifice bunt drove in the third run of the first frame off of Rice, while a run-scoring single by Hope Bruner would make the score 4-0 in favor of the Lady Warriors before Somerset ever picked up a bat.
A run-scoring single by eighth grade catcher Shantelle Woodall in the second inning gave Southwestern a 5-0 advantage, while a Lady Jumper error — one of three on the day — would allow another run to score in the top of the third frame for a 6-0 cushion.
Down to Southwestern by that 6-0 score, Somerset attempted to get off the mat by scoring four runs off of Fourman in the home half of the fourth inning, trimming the deficit to 6-4 at that juncture.
Bethany Edwards led things off with a single — one of three hits on the day by the Somerset center fielder — and she would later come home with the first run of the day for the Lady Jumpers due to an error by the Lady Warriors.
A sacrifice fly from Rice would trim the deficit to 6-2, while a bloop single from Chloe Henderson would drive home another run, and Alyssa Richardson’s infield hit would drive home run number four.
Although happy with his team’s resolve and never say did attitude, Dorsey lamented afterwards that his club was doomed by falling behind the Lady Warriors in that decisive four-run first inning that put his team immediately behind the proverbial eight ball.
“We got behind 4-0 early, and I think we dug a hole for ourselves there that we just couldn’t seem to get out of,” pointed out the Somerset coach.
“We’re young on the corners, and I think we got scared a little,” continued Dorsey. “I thought over the first four innings Lauren (Rice) got a little fat with her pitches, and they hit it — you know when their seven, eight, and nine hitters all put the bat on the ball three or four times in a game, it’s going to be a long night. I knew after the first inning it was going to be a long night for us.”
After seeing their comfortable, six-run cushion evaporate, it was Southwestern’s turn to respond, and the Lady Warriors did just that.
A two-out triple by the Lady Warriors’ number nine hitter — Gillian Gibson — paved the way for the first answer in the top of the fifth frame.
Leadoff hitter Allie Venable singled home Gibson for a score, and Sarah Smith followed Venable with an RBI triple, making it 8-4 in favor of the Lady Warriors.
Southwestern tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth inning, and closed things out by scoring two more in the top of the seventh on its way to the 12-6 victory over Somerset.
“I never felt comfortable tonight, even with that 12-6 lead late, because Somerset is a hitting machine,” stated Woodall.
“David’s got a hitting group over there,” continued the SWHS coach. “We answered everything Somerset threw at us tonight, and I’m really proud of my girls for that.”
The Lady Jumpers meanwhile scratched out two more runs off of Fourman, scoring lone runs in the fifth and seventh frames.
Lauren Hibbard singled home a run in the home half of the fifth inning, while Brynlee Bigelow doubled in a run off of Fourman in the bottom of the seventh.
Fourman however closed things out by retiring Katherine Holmes and Hibbard to end the contest to nail down the win for Somerset.
Fourman got the win, allowing the Lady Jumpers just seven hits in a complete game effort, fanning seven hitters with no walks.
Rice meanwhile took the loss for Somerset, surrendering 14 hits to Southwestern while striking out five batters and walking just one.
“We just didn’t show up tonight and Southwestern deserved to win this game,” pointed out coach Dorsey.
“Lauren beaned five hitters tonight and walked one, so there’s six outs that we just gave them,” Dorsey added. “This is three games in a row that we’ve just not showed up — I don’t know what it is. I know I’m scratching body parts I haven’t scratched in a long, long time trying to figure this thing out.”
Both the Lady Warriors and Lady Jumpers have pivotal district games today on their home fields.
Southwestern will host Wayne County in a 48th District game at 6 p.m., while Somerset will return home at 6 p.m. as well, hosting Rockcastle County in a crucial 47th District contest for both clubs.
SW 4 1 1 0 2 2 2 — 12 14 2
SHS 0 0 0 4 1 0 1 — 6 7 3
DOUBLES — (SW) Smith 2. (SHS) Bigelow.
TRIPLES — (SW) Gibson.
HOMERUNS — (SW) Fourman
RBI — (SW) Beasley 3, Venable 2, Fourman 2, Bruner, Woodall, Molden, Smith.
WP — Fourman
LP — Rice