Lancers cruise to sectional victory

HOPE — The pitching that Edinburgh saw in Monday’s opening round of the Hauser Sectional more closely resembled slowpitch softball than some of the fireballers the Lancers recently have faced.

That didn’t stop Edinburgh from lighting up the scoreboard. The Lancers scored in all five innings, and freshman Maddi Clark threw a two-hitter in a 16-2 victory against Southwestern (Shelby).

“At the end of the season, we were playing some tough competition with girls that could throw upper 50s (mph) to 60,” Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark said. “Then, you bump back to 40s, it’s a big adjustment.”

The Lancers (11-10) move on to face Waldron in the semifinals at 5 p.m. today. Class A No. 3 Hauser will meet Morristown around 7 p.m. in the second semifinal.

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Edinburgh scored its 16 runs Monday on only seven hits but took advantage of seven Spartan errors. Southwestern pitchers also hit six Lancer batters.

“We made some solid contact,” Stephen Clark said. “Some of our girls had some solid hits at people, and I think that may have attributed to a few of the errors. But we took advantage of it. We were smart in the box and not swinging at garbage.”

Three of Edinburgh’s hits came in the first inning, when it plated its first two runs. Courtney Woodall led off with a single, Megan Rooks reached on a fielder’s choice, Brianna Howard followed with a single and Kayli Littiken smacked a two-run triple to the right-center field fence.

“I was looking for a base hit,” Littiken said. “I’m always aiming for a base hit in the back of my mind. We came out with a bang, and that’s what we talked about in the beginning. That’s all we could ask for.”

After Southwestern scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first, the Lancers added two more in the bottom of the first on an RBI-groundout by Kayla Beier and an RBI-double by Rooks. Edinburgh then scored six runs on no hits and four Spartan errors in the third to take a 10-1 lead.

Southwestern scored another unearned run in the bottom of the third, but then the Lancers answered with another run without a hit in the fourth. Edinburgh then scored five runs in the fifth on a two-run single by Bailey Woodall and an RBI-double by Beier.

Littiken finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Beier came off the bench to drive in three runs, and Makenzie Hill had two RBIs off the bench.

“We hit the ball really well,” Littiken said. “We made contact every time we could. We had to adjust with our patience. Once we caught on and got the hang of it and kind of gave each other pointers on what to do, we got adjusted to it. We just have to adjust to every pitcher there is and go from there.”

Maddi Clark finished with eight strikeouts and no walks. The defense committed three errors.

“We came out a little flat,” Stephen Clark said. “The defense was a little flat, but we picked it up at the end and played an all right game.”