Softball sweeps home opening DH from Hill

On a breezy and bright Wednesday, the Navarro Bulldogs had a flair for  dramatics in both ends of their non-conference doubleheader against Hill.

In the opener, the Bulldogs rallied from a short-lived 4-3 deficit with six runs for a 9-4 win — punctuated by sophomore leftfielder Miranda Worthington’s fifth home run of the season.

SB-Hill9In a 2-0 nightcap win, sophomore starter Katelyn Cooper threw a complete-game shutout, scattered five hits and stranded eight runners — and battled through a rough finish in which she left the bases loaded after getting a called third strike on the final batter.

The Bulldogs, coached by Jessica Karenke-Burke and Courtney Anderson, improved their season mark to 9-4 with the win over their Region V opponents from Hillsboro.  Navarro heads into Friday’s doubleheader here against traditional national power Wallace State-Hanceville with a four-game winning streak and six in their last seven outings.

The sweep sent Hill crashing to its fifth straight loss and dropped coach Leigh Ebner’s Rebels to 2-9 overall.

SB-Hill2Navarro greeted first-game loser Morgan Garrett with three first-inning runs — all scoring with two out, thanks to consecutive singles by third baseman Kenzie McGallion, DH Jade Strother and shortstop Alissa Chavez.  Leadoff hitter Gabby Martinez reached on an infield single, reached second on centerfielder Anika Barbosa’s sacrifice  and scored on McGallion’s liner through the middle.

Hill countered with its own two-out rally in the fourth for four runs and the lead.  The rally off NC starter Stephanie Buenrostro was held together by four consecutive singles and a double – her only troublesome inning of the day.

NC responded immediately in the bottom of the fourth by sending nine batters to plate to score five times.  Chavez led off the with a double.  Catcher Nicole Matise lived on an infield single. Following rightfielder Jaclyn Kresta’s RBI ground out to shortstop and a walk to Martinez, Barbosa delivered a run-scoring infield hit.

SB-Hill4Worthington drove her team-leading fifth home run of the season with the crosswind over the right-centerfield fence to clear the bases, and Navarro remained comfortably in front.

Pitching was the focal point of Game 2.

Cooper spread out five hits, and overcame some dangerous living in the Hill 7th to fight for the complete-game win.  Meanwhile, as Navarro touched Rebel starter Makenna Aycock for five hits, five wild pitches during the Bulldogs’ fourth inning enabled NC to score its telltale two runs.

Barbosa led off the fourth with a single and came around to score after three of Aycock’s wild pitches.  Worthington fought back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk, stole second base, and circled home thanks to the other two errant offerings to NC hitters.