By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
An ugly win is better than no win at all and that’s exactly what happened with the Hilldale Lady Hornets on Tuesday.
The top-ranked team in Class 4A struggled all game against the Catoosa Lady Indians but ended up with a 5-2 victory to improve to 19-2 on the season.
“It was a terrible effort tonight on our part,” said Lady Hornets coach Darren Riddle. “We hit a lot of line drives at some people but some of those line drives were not hit as hard as we could have hit balls. The girl was throwing strikes and we went up there and didn’t stay disciplined.
“It kind of sounds petty but our kids have set the standard high here the last few years. And to go out and give that type of effort is not anything against Catoosa.”
Emily Dowdy started in the circle for Hilldale and got the win, improving to 5-1 on the season. She pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out six, walking two and hitting a batter. Destiny Riddle came on in relief in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out and after walking the first batter she faced, retired the final four batters to earn the save.
“I really didn’t pitch that well but I could have done a lot better,” Dowdy said. “I was struggling with a lot of my pitches but I could have had a better effort.”
The Lady Hornets opened the scoring with a two-out rally in the first inning when Riddle reached on a walk and advanced to third on a double to the centerfield wall by McKensie Plant. Sarah Hughey drove both Riddle and Plant home with a single to left center to give the Lady Hornets a 2-0 lead.
Catoosa (6-14) cut the deficit in half in the third inning when Torie Pulliam sent a 1-0 pitch with one out over the wall in left field to make the score 2-1. Hilldale posted two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on lead-off walk by Plant, a single to center by Toni McMillan, advancing Plant to second, and back-to-back singles by Jessie Casey and Kenzie Mize put the Lady Hornets up 4-0.
Hilldale posted another run in the fifth on a single by Plant, a single by Hughey and a double by McMillan to give the home team a 5-1 lead. Catoosa closed out the scoring in the sixth with a run on the bases-loaded walk which plated Becca Luper.
“We just had to be patient at the plate,” Plant said. “I don’t know what was throwing everyone off. The hits they got were just out of reach.”
Hughey, McMillan and Plant were the only Lady Hornets with multi-hit games. Plant was 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored while Hughey and McMillan were both 2-for-3 with Hughey driving in two runs while McMillan scored once and had one RBI.
“We had a long weekend, not to make any excuses, then go to Miami on Monday then come back here,” Riddle said. “’I’m not concerned about our play. Our effort (Tuesday) was kind of poor and its kind of frustrating.”
The Lady Hornets will have a a couple of days off before playing in the Oologah Tournament. Hilldale meets Haskell at 11:30 a.m. Friday then plays Edison at 5:30 p.m. Friday.