Whitewright rolls to victory against Leonard
LEONARD — The Whitewright Lady Tigers know right where they stand and what they need to do to improve their spot in the standings.
At the midway point Whitewright was squarely in the middle of District 11-3A, having beaten the four teams below them and behind the three teams it has lost to.
But the Lady Tigers are closer to the top half than the latter. All of the victories have been by at least nine runs while all the losses have been by three runs or less.
Whitewright has a firm grip on a playoff spot but fourth place isn’t where the Lady Tigers hope to find themselves once the regular season ends.
"We have a chance to move up as long as we take care of the business we have in front of us," Whitewright head coach Zachary Gillen said. "We are definitely right there. We need to go in those games with the confidence to win those games."
Whitewright kicked off the second half of 11-3A action with a 20-0 victory in three innings against Leonard behind a combined one-hit effort from Madie Rohre and Regan Eldredge while Kyleigh Clements was 4-for-4 with three doubles, seven RBI and scored three times.
It was a collective effort for Whitewright (15-4, 5-3) which hosts Blue Ridge on Tuesday night. Hayden Thompson was 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI, Makayla Alexander was 2-for-3 with a triple, three RBI, walked and scored three times, Abreanna Smith was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and scored twice and Natalie Alexander singled, walked twice and scored three times.
"We have speed at the top of the lineup. We have power in the middle," Gillen said. "Our top five is very formidable."
Maci Partridge singled and walked for Leonard (1-9, 0-8).
Whitewright was an out away from the combined no-hitter when Patridge dunked an infield single behind the circle that Clements made a diving attempt to snag but came up just short before Eldredge closed out the victory.
There were only two other base runners for Leonard. Partridge led off the game with a walk, went to second on a sacrifice by Paiton Sudderth and was stranded at third after a wild pitch.
Allie Shulze reached on an error to start the second inning but Thompson started a 3-6-3 double play to erase her.
There was plenty of run support as Whitewright batted around in the first and third innings.
It almost took one time through the lineup for Whitewright to make an out. Makayla Alexander walked before consecutive singles by Natalie Alexander, Clements, Rohre and Thompson. A wild pitch put Whitewright on the board while Clements and Thompson drove in runs with their hits for a 3-0 advantage.
Kiley Anderson followed with a walk to load the bases and Smith had an RBI single to center.
Makayla Alexander drove in a run with a groundout to second for a 7-0 margin. Natalie Alexander was safe on a fielder’s choice to extend the inning and Clements had a two-run double for the 9-0 lead.
"Score early and often, no matter who we play," Gillen said. "You start off fast and you keep that sharp focus."
By sending 15 batters to the plate in the third, Whitewright was in position to close out the contest. Almost all of the damage came with two outs.
Makayla Alexander had a one-out triple to right center, Natalie Alexander worked a walk and they pulled off a double steal to get the gap to double digits.
Clements sent an RBI double to left and then with two away, Thompson launched a two-run homer over the fence in left center. Anderson singled and came home on a Smith double that pushed the lead to 14-0.
Whitewright loaded the bases when Ashton Long walked and Maddy Augustine reached on an error. Makayla Alexander had a two-run single to right center.
Natalie Alexander walked to re-load the bases and Clements cleared them with a double into the left-field corner. Rohre capped the scoring with her single up the middle.
Whitewright was held off the board in the second despite Thompson’s leadoff single and a groundout that moved her into scoring position.