By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Rained out of all their preseason scrimmages and their season opener earlier in the week, the Hilldale Lady Hornets got to stretch their wings for a change Thursday.
A good time was had by all, you could say.
Starting with Hornets pitcher Destiny Riddle, who at times looked more dominant than the two-hitter she fashioned in an 8-0 win over the Locust Grove Lady Pirates.
“I just felt good and it’s good to have a good defense behind you,” Riddle said. “I have more confidence throwing with them. I’ve played with them a while, of course, but I’m just having more fun these days. If (the opponent) gets a hit off me, I know they’re behind me.”
The junior hurler struck out the first four batters she faced and six through the first time down the Locust Grove lineup. She finished with 10 strikeouts and only two hits. Those came with two outs in the third when leadoff batter Hailey Gregory grounded one down the line and off the third base bag into left field. Cleanup hitter Lexy Jenkins singled to lead off the fourth.
Gregory was the only batter to reach second. That came on an attempted steal. Kyla Ibarra’s throw to Casady Mills covering was on the money but the ball was dropped before a tag could be made.
“She makes that play 99 times out of 100,” Hilldale coach Darren Riddle said. “It didn’t end up hurting us.”
Riddle’s second walk of the game followed, but she fanned Lynsey Connor to end the inning. Her mix of fastball, riser and screw balls kept the Pirates off balance all day.
Despite the lack of live pitching for some time, Ibarra was in a groove as the only multi-hit Hornet. She singled in a run in the first and did so again in the third, both on shots to center field.
“I felt good. I felt relaxed,” Ibarra, another of Hilldale’s horde of seven junior starters. “Both those pitches were right down the middle on me.”
“She had a really good summer with the bat,” coach Riddle said. “It was just good to see that live pitching. One through nine at any time someone gets hot, they can swing pretty well.”
Destiny Riddle helped herself with a three-run triple in her final at bat of the game. She had grounded out and popped out in her previous trips.
Mills doubled in a run and ended up at third courtesy of a fielding error by left fielder Kelsey Stealer in the first. Toni McMillan, Mackensie Plant and Sarah Hughey all singled to account for what wound up as seven hits for Hilldale.
“It was just good to see that live pitching,” coach Riddle said. “One through nine at any time someone gets hot, they all can swing pretty well.”
They’ll get plenty of chances this weekend in the Broken Arrow Invitational. Five pool games are slated over two days. Three are today starting with Sand Springs at 1:30. Hilldale plays Berryhill at 3 p.m. and Yukon at 6:30 p.m.