Licking Heights softball attempting to level out play

Licking Heights softball attempting to level out play

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Licking Heights softball attempting to level out play

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Licking Heights’ Georganna Pendexter, top, chases down Watkins Memorial's Anna Shroyer in a rundown between third and home plate this past Friday during Watkins’ 14-11 victory. The Hornets led 11-3 in the fifth inning before Watkins rallied.

Licking Heights’ Georganna Pendexter, top, chases down Watkins Memorial’s Anna Shroyer in a rundown between third and home plate this past Friday during Watkins’ 14-11 victory. The Hornets led 11-3 in the fifth inning before Watkins rallied.

Growing pains continue to hold back the Licking Heights softball team.

The Hornets again rode the roller coaster this past weekend. They watched rival Watkins Memorial rally from an 11-3 deficit for a 14-11 victory in a Licking County League game this past Friday. Less than 24 hours later, however, the Hornets rebounded by pounding Millersport 16-1 and rallying past Bexley 9-6.

“Athletically, we are a very gifted group, but sometimes we play in fast forward,” said Heights coach Bo Ramsey, whose team committed five errors and had two runners doubled off first base against Watkins. “We need to slow down and not over-play the moment. That is where a wild throw comes in. We just rush ourselves instead of taking a deep breath and making an uncomfortable play. That is part of that youth.”

Sophomore second baseman Cearra Smith has been a tough out in the No. 2 spot in the batting order. She had a rare difficult game at the plate against Heath on April 6, but she responded in an impressive fashion.

Smith had four hits against Watkins. She homered in the fourth inning and just missed another home run the next inning. She had two more hits against Bexley. The Hornets had seven in a seven-run seventh inning.

“(Smith) has high expectations of herself and is one of the most intense kids we have,” Ramsey said. “I think sometimes she rides herself a little tougher than what she needs to. When she has a chance to take a step back and evaluate it a little bit, she is definitely much better.”

Heights can attack from anywhere in the order, and that does not allow for any rest for opposing pitchers. No. 9 hitter Kayla Myrthil started the rally against Bexley with a double, and she capped the onslaught with a two-run triple. The previous day against Watkins she had a pair of doubles.

Madison Bridger is the speedster at the top of the order, reaching three times against Watkins and totaling three hits, including a triple, and five RBI against Millersport. Georganna Pendexter and Caitlin Aitken combined for 13 hits in three games during the weekend.

“You don’t chain together triple after triple after triple,” Ramsey said. “You chain together singles. Singles are contagious. Triples aren’t.”

Adding freshman Rhianna Weall and sophomore Hanna Piatt to an already deep lineup this season, the Hornets have the ability to hit for extra bases at will. Ramsey, however, has been most impressed with Heights’ situational hitting.

Jessica Gunter had two run-scoring hits to right-center, and Kelsey Hoar slapped a ground ball to the right side to score an additional run against Watkins. With difficult games against Lakewood and Licking Valley upcoming, any three-run home runs the Hornets hit will be a bonus.

“Every part of the lineup does have that power, but it is like the old football thing about throwing,” Ramsey said. “If you put the ball in the air, it is pretty much either going over or getting caught. We are looking at line drives and ground balls.”

ksnyder@gannett.com

740-328-8556

Twitter: @newarkurt

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