Putting it together
Lee County's softball team turned in what head coach Miles McCaskill called the best Lady Jacket game of the season in a number of categories Wednesday night.
It was a quite opportune time as well as Lee County (8-3, 7-2) trounced Union Pines (7-4, 5-3) 14-2 in five innings, solidifying the Lady Jacket hold on second place in the Cape Fear Valley Conference with a regular-season sweep versus the Lady Vikings.
Lee County slugged out a 13-12 win in its Sanford meeting with the Lady Vikings. The Lady Jackets continued hitting this time around. The Jacket pitching, by freshman Whitney Sanford, and defense was in good form, too.
"Tonight, we finally put it together in a streak, every inning, battling every pitch," McCaskill said.
The Lady Jackets seized the momentum by knocking the ball all over, and out of, the park in a five-run first inning.
Caroline Wilson's fly to deep right went for a double leading off the game. Tessa Wilson followed with a drive well over the fence in left-center field for a 2-0 Lee County lead.
Chandler Patterson's triple, a hard shot which bounded by the right fielder and to the fence, followed and a couple hitters later Savannah Patterson let her older sister score thanks to a sharp single into center.
Even the Lady Jacket outs in the first inning were hit hard and productive as Jacie Arrington's sacrifice fly nearly left the yard to center and Sanford added a sacrifice fly scoring Morgan Pedley.
Noelle Beattie's RBI single into center scored Savannah Patterson for a 5-0 lead.
Sanford held the Lady Vikings hitless until the fourth inning, which turned into the only Lady Viking threat of the night.
Kellie Poindexter and Lexie Coxe singled to lead off the UP fourth and both scored; Poindexter on Shay Garton's two-out single into left field, then Coxe on a Lady Jacket error trying to get Garton stealing second.
Given the 13-12 score from a few weeks ago, McCaskill was pleased his side limited what could've been a bigger Lady Viking inning.
"We know as good of a hitting team as they are, we knew they could battle back," he said.
The Lady Jackets posting eight runs as an answer in the top of the fifth, driving the game into mercy-rule territory, is a good sign as well.
"We've seen glimpses of it so far this season, but this is the best we've played as a team. We just have to continue to battle every inning like we did tonight," McCaskill said.
The Lady Jackets took advantage off two walks and two throwing errors to make the fifth go from good to huge. Then Caroline Wilson's two-RBI single made it 11-2 Jackets. Zizi Hammond, courtesy-running for Wilson, stole home outracing the throw back to the plate after seemingly being picked off, and Arrington's two-RBI double, a bullet down the left field line, made it 14-2.
Savannah Patterson walked twice and scored twice in the fifth inning, finishing with four runs. Caroline Wilson, Tessa Wilson, Arrington and Sanford had two RBI each.
Sanford pitched a four-hitter with one walk and six strikeouts.
"Whitney did a great job mixing pitches and keeping hitters off balance and then the defense made some great plays, and that's what it takes," said McCaskill.
Union Pines has two contests in the next two nights; at Terry Sanford Thursday followed by hosting Douglas Byrd Friday. Lee County will host Terry Sanford Friday night.