With high hopes of winning its Glen Rose Tournament, Lady Tiger softball was ready to roll on Thursday afternoon.
Glen Rose (3-1) rode a nine-run second inning on the way to a 14-3 win over Meridian in four innings. Glen Rose finished with more hits (10-2) and fewer errors (2-5).
"The nine-run second was great for us because it allowed some other girls to get playing time," said coach Kiel Miller. "We're here to win the tournament, but I try to get every girl in. Madison (Calvert) isn't pitching (Thursday due to a minor injury), so it was big to be able to get Hannah (Morales) out of the game quickly and get Dakotah (Ponce) some varsity work."
Morales (2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 5 K) was dominant in the circle, as Glen Rose led 12-0 when she came out. Fellow freshman Dakotah Ponce (2 IP, 3 R – 0 ER, 2 H, 3 W, 2 K) finished the job.
"Hannah pitched well and we'll find out what she's made of when we face Mart, since they've been good in recent years," Miller said.
Top hitters included Amber Ponce (double, single, 4 RBIs), Cheyenne Harton (double, single, 2 RBIs) and Alex Dahl (double, single, 2 RBIs).
"I had a feeling we'd beat Meridian, and this is the best group we've started a season with since I've been on the team," Amber Ponce said. "Cheyenne has always been one of our big hitters and she's done awesome so far this year."
Other offensive contributors included Destiny Ponce (double, RBI), Madison Calvert (single, RBI), Shelby Rotan (single, RBI) and Sydney Stegint (single).
Glen Rose capitalized on a throwing error and two walks in the top of the first to score three unearned runs, as Rotan singled and Dahl smacked an RBI single (3-0).
"Alex has really surprised me because this is the best she's ever hit, but she's very coachable and you can see it paying off," Miller said. "She's hitting the gaps."
After Morales struck out the side in the home first, the Lady Tigers feasted off four errors and four walks to go up 12-0. Hitters included Harton with a two-RBI double over the left fielder, Amber Ponce with a three-RBI double over the centerfielder and Dahl with an RBI double over the centerfielder.
"I wasn't expecting a hit there after being walked last time, but I hit well in our last game and I was hoping for one," Amber Ponce said.
Miller appreciated the run production.
"Amber is hitting the gaps for doubles and I just hope she continues that," he said. "I'm interested to see what she does against a strong pitcher, but I like what I'm seeing so far. You have to keep Cheyenne calm at times, but she's perfectly capable of getting big hits and just needs to keep her confidence up. It's great to see her hit like that."
Rotan drew a bases-loaded walk for an RBI, while Calvert added an RBI fielder’s choice.
"I think we're working the count really well and capitalizing when pitchers mess up," Miller said. "If we're playing a defense that's error-prone, we're putting the ball in play right now and so they are going to have trouble."
Morales then stepped back in the circle and struck out two of three in the home second, as left fielder Sabrina Watson caught a high fly ball.
"Hannah is the best freshman pitcher I've ever seen," said Amber Ponce. "She's accurate and keeps a good attitude."
While Glen Rose didn’t score in the third, Destiny Ponce doubled over the centerfielder and Stegint added a line single.
Although Dakotah Ponce struck out two of the first three batters she faced in the home third, Glen Rose made two errors to go with a two-RBI double and an RBI single to get Meridian on the board (12-3).
"When you have that second out, we have to finish that off," Miller said.
In the top of the fourth, the Lady Tigers finalized the score via a Harton single, a Calvert single, a Destiny Ponce RBI groundout and an Amber Ponce RBI single.
The Lady Tigers overcame two Dakotah Ponce walks in the home fourth, as second baseman Kensy Massey registered two defensive outs to seal the deal.
"Kensy is going to get time because of her defense, and she'll continue to work on her hitting," the coach said.
The Lady Tigers then set their sights on a 5 p.m. game against Mart.
"I want to see everyone of our players getting big hits, and also see us show more confidence on defense," said Amber Ponce.