By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
Solid defense and a two-run home run by Jane Murdock made the difference in a close 3-1 home win for the White Pine High School softball team Friday against Battle Mountain. The Ladycats carried the momentum into the second part of their double header against the Longhorns, winning 11-1 in the fifth inning due to the 10 run rule.
Ladycats coach Krystal Smith said that her team’s strong defensive effort in the first game and sharp pitching in the second were key in helping extend their winning streak to 10 games in a row.
“We really pride ourselves on defense,“ Smith said. “We work really hard on defense in practice and take a lot of pride in playing error-free ball. You know our pitchers do their job and our hitters do their job but our defense is going to be our star.”
There were several situations over the two games where things could have turned in favor of the away team, Smith pointed out, but the Ladycat’s were able to step up in the tough spots.
“We don’t panic or collapse when the game gets a little tighter,” she said. “There were times when the bases were loaded and we only had one out, but our girls were able to string together a couple of outs and get us out of that situation.
That isn’t to take any credit away from the pitchers or hitters, both of which have been steadily consistent every game, according to the coach. The team continued to “pitch by committee” to keep opponent batter off balance, with pitcher Alli Huntington continuing her hot streak from the mound in the second game against the Longhorns.
On offense, Jane Murdock led the team, hitting a two-run homerun in the first game, and another three runs batted in during the second game.
“I think it was a great way to show that we mean business,” Murdock said. “We have one of the strongest lineups we have ever had and we are so calm and collected on defense that not many teams can handle the pressure.”
So far that seems to be the case for the Ladycats. Smith had called the past two weeks big “tests” for the team leading into the games to judge where they are at in the middle of the season. So far, she is pleased to report they have “passed with flying colors” with a perfect 8-0 record in their division. But both the players and the coach know that now is not the time to rest on their laurels.
“Battle Mountain was a great test, but the true test comes this weekend,” Murdock said.
The Ladycats will face off against the also divisionally undefeated Yerington at home on Friday at 4 p,m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. before going on the road to face Lincoln County on Tuesday at noon and 2 p.m.