By JUSTIN RAINS
The Elkhart softball team is currently on a roll.
The Lady Elks took advantage of loads of Westwood miscues en route to an 11-1, five inning victory Tuesday to move to 3-1 in District 19-2A play.
Combined with Friday’s win over Crockett, the Lady Elks have outscored opponents 28-1 in their last two games.
“It took us a little while to get going tonight, but then we started hitting really well,” EHS coach Brandy Martin said. “It’s a pretty tight race in the district right now.”
Only three of the eight runs Elkhart scored Tuesday against Westwood were earned, as the Lady Elks capitalized on seven Lady Panthers errors in the victory.
“We have this conversation often,” WHS coach Jenna Jenkins said. “Our defense and errors have taken us out of too many games. It’s things we’ve worked on...we’re young and it definitely contributes.”
Elkhart opened the scoring in the top of the third, when with two outs, Courtney Lindsey drew a walk.
Megan Davis followed that up by reaching on an error, but Westwood looked prepared to get out of the inning after pitcher Simone Berryhill induced a fly ball from Catie Bridges.
But, the ball was misplayed, scoring Lindsey and moving Davis to second.
That’s when Courtney Cheatham took advantage of the free at-bat, roping a ball to the fence in right-centerfield to score both Davis and Bridges.
She wound up at third with a triple, and scored when Alicia Lipscomb hit a hard single to center in the next at-bat.
Elkhart then added two more runs in the fourth when Tracey Clewis scored on Lindsey’s inside-the-park home run, which she roped down the left field line before the ball bounced around in the corner.
The Lady Elks put the finishing touches on the game in the top of the fifth, again thanks in part to Westwood errors.
After a strike out to start the inning, Cheatham and Lipscomb both hit singles to put runners on first and second for Larami McAdams.
McAdams lifted a fly ball to left field that was again misplayed, allowing Cheatham to score.
Lipscomb then came around to score on a double to left-centerfield from Robin Grant, and McAdams scored when Tracey Clewis reached on an error at first.
After Tiffany Rosas reached on an infield single, Lindsey hit a fielder’s choice that scored Grant, before Clewis would come around to score on another Westwood error to push the lead to 10 runs.
“(Errors) is what we have to play off of sometimes,” Martin said. “Sometimes we struggle, sometimes we don’t and sometimes it takes that to get us going.”
Westwood’s lone run came in the bottom of the fourth, when Kristen Hargrave led off the inning with a single.
Jeanna Cordell almost put two runs up on the board in the next at-bat, lifting a ball to deep left field that just missed clearing the fence, but put runners on first and second with no outs for Abbie Coleman.
Coleman delivered, roping a double to left that scored Hargrave and moved Cordell to third. Seemingly, Westwood was in business.
But, Victoria Patterson ground to third in the next at-bat and Grant looked back Cordell before throwing on to first. Cordell then broke for home, but Lipscomb got the ball to McAdams in time for the unconventional double-play.
The inning — and Westwood’s chances — ended in the next at-bat.
With the win, Elkhart is primed for a monster matchup at 2 p.m. Thursday at home, as they welcome in district-leading Woden.
Westwood travels to Central Heights Friday, with the game set to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Coaches or team representatives are encouraged to call in scores and stats to 903-729-0281 ext. 242 by 9:30 p.m. after games, or to email firstname.lastname@example.org