LEXINGTON – Hitting the ball has never been a problem for the Lexington softball team. But on Thursday, the Lady Tigers showed they play some pretty tough defense also.
Lexington allowed Chester County seven baserunners as the Lady Tigers beat the Eaglettes 7-0 at Guy B. Amis Park in Lexington on Tuesday.
The hitting for Lexington (20-2) can come from anywhere in the lineup. The Lady Tigers have all types of hitters too, but none have been better than lead-off Meghan Maness.
Maness has 37 hits on the season with 30 of them being singles. She went 3-for-3 in the Lady Tigers’ last game against Munford, and she continued the streak on Tuesday.
“I am just trying to get a hit out there,” Maness said. “I am team-minded. It is not about me getting hits. It is about me progressing runners.”
After Lexington had scored on run on a fielder’s choice, Maness hit a double into centerfield to score Abbie Nowell for the 2-0 lead after two innings.
“She is about lethal,” Lexington coach Ronnie Burke said. “She can slap hit, soft slap, and she is getting to where she knows what I want her to do out there. They jumped in on her first at-bat, and so I told her just to swing, and she hit it into the outfield. She is a catalyst in the lead-off position.”
Early leads are important in this series as neither Lexington nor Chester County (7-4) likes to give up runs to the other.
“It is always good to get ahead,” Maness said. “I like to get ahead and stay ahead.”
The Lady Tigers added another run in the third inning, but it wasn’t because Lexington was getting more hits than the Eaglettes. The Lady Tigers just brought in runners when they got in scoring position.
In the fifth inning, Lexington started opening up the lead with back-to-back solo home runs from Sam McDaniel and Kaitlyn Kelley for the 5-0 lead.
“The home runs were the spark,” Burke said. “The game was close for one because Chester County has one of the better pitchers in West Tennessee.”
The Lady Tigers scored two more in the sixth inning with both runs coming with the bases loaded on a hit by pitch and walk.
But throughout, the Lexington defense kept Chester County from threatening to score behind a pitching performance from Natalie Cogdell. She pitched the shutout, allowing five hits, striking out three and walking one.
“Our defense and Natalie’s pitching were outstanding,” Burke said. “This is the best that I have seen her pitch. She was lights out and hitting her spots.
“And with the defense we played behind her, we can win some games. The throw Brooklyn [Hays] made from knees and the catch in the outfield were momentum killers. Anytime Chester tried to rally, we shut it down.”
Maness finished 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI, and Brooklyn Hays went 2-for-4.
Michael Odom, 425-9754