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West tops Union in softball opener

By Staff
TAKING A HACK Union's Lauren White fouls one off as West Lauderdale's Emily Jo Havard tries to make a play on the ball. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star.
By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
August 10, 2002
UNION Courtney Godwin and Kirby Rutledge both had three hits as West Lauderdale defeated Union 10-7 in the slow-pitch softball season opener for both teams Friday night at Laird Park.
Both teams were state semifinalists a year ago, West in Class 3A and Union in 1A.
The teams combined for 33 hits with the Lady Knights holding a slim 17-16 advantage. West held a bigger advantage in the field, committing only three errors to Union's six.
Union made three errors in the top of the first inning to spot West a quick 3-0 advantage.
"Two things first game of the year jitters and first time to ever play West Lauderdale jitters," Union head coach Todd Viverette said of the shaky start. "After that, I think they got a little confidence in themselves. We just made too many mistakes, especially mistakes that should have been routine outs. If we cut down on our mistakes, we might win the game."
"I was real pleased," West head coach Jerry Boatner said. "We hit the ball pretty good. We had some girls at the bottom of the order that hit the ball better than I had anticipated. I could see some good things. I saw some things that we need to work on."
The Lady Knights lost three baserunners who were thrown out attempting to take an extra base.
"We don't have the speed that we usually have," Boatner said. "We've got to come up with some ways to manufacture some runs. I made a couple of mistakes, but I'll correct it. It was the first game and I've got to see what I can do and what I can't."
J.J. Huggins gave the Lady Knights a 6-3 lead in the top of the fourth on a solo homer to left-center.
West upped its lead to 8-3 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. Holly Herrington had an RBI-single and Rutledge followed with an RBI-double.
Union answered with five consecutive two-out singles to close the gap to 8-7 in the bottom of the fifth. Tiffany Thomas and Loren Kennedy both had RBI-singles with Madison Brantley's single driving in two runs.
West answered with two runs in the top of the sixth as Huggins had an RBI-single and Amy Frazier added an RBI-double.
Union had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Godwin and Rutledge had two singles and a double apiece for West. Huggins had an RBI-single to go with her homer. Frazier had two RBI-doubles. Herrington and Katie Moulds both had two singles.
Kristina Gardner was the winning pitcher and had two putouts and three assists.
Union's first seven batters each had two hits. Morgan Milling, Marley Smith, LaSaundra Harrison, Thomas, Kennedy, and Brantley had two singles apiece with Lauren White hitting a two-run double and a single.
"They're a good little team," Boatner said of the Lady Jackets, who set a school record for wins in going 26-7 a year ago.
West right-center fielder Brook Bounds had the game's defensive gem when her tumbling shoestring catch robbed Amechia Hickmon of a hit in the bottom of the fourth.
Union returns to action Monday at Choctaw Central at 7 West hosts Northeast Lauderdale 7 p.m.