High school softball: Dunbar keeps hot streak alive with 43rd District title

mmaloney@herald-leader.comMay 21, 2014 

Dunbar picked a fine time to get on a hot streak.

The Bulldogs captured the 43rd District softball title Wednesday, blanking Lafayette 6-0 at Tates Creek.

Dunbar (18-12-2) has won four in a row and nine of its last 10 games.

"We are playing well," Coach Jenny Hill said. "But we started off playing a really tough pre-season, hoping that we could catch some momentum moving into this post-season run."

Although both teams advance to next week's 11th Region tourney at Bryan Station, a district title is exactly what Dunbar was after.

"Both teams are going on," Hill said. "But it's always a lot better to move on to region with a win in your pocket rather than coming out with a loss."

"It's awesome," tourney MVP Shelby Shanks said. "We won two years ago. It feels great. ... We didn't have to win, but we wanted to beat Lafayette."

The teams split a pair of regular-season games.

Wednesday, Shanks and Stephanie Harvey each homered to back the five-hit pitching of Halie Morgan.

"We really came together as a team," Morgan said. "We hit well. We played in the field well. We communicated the whole time. I think that's really what got us this win."

Dunbar scored the only runs it would need in the first inning as Emily Bryan delivered a two-run single.

Harvey led off the third inning with an into-the-wind homer to left-center.

"I just saw it right there," Harvey said. "I went for it and hit it just hard enough to go over the fence."

After Tia Wilson drew a walk, Shanks also went yard for a 5-0 lead.

"It was awesome," Shanks said. "We were planning on hitting line drives and on the ground. My coach always told me to hit a mistake. That's what I did."

The Bulldogs added a run in the sixth.

No. 9 hitter Sydney Arnold doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Harvey brought her home with a sacrifice fly.

Morgan took care of the rest from the circle, most often coming in with a first-pitch strike.

"I try really hard to get ahead," she said. "That's the most important thing being a pitcher, getting ahead of the batter and letting them be worried like 'oh, what's she going to throw me? Am I going to strike out on a slow pitch or is she going to throw me a fastball?'"

Wilson and Shanks each finished with two hits for the Bulldogs.

Katelyn Mitchell had two of Lafayette's five hits.

The Generals (20-13) will go on, though.

"That's the exciting part," Coach Kevin Stephens said. "You're going to run into these days where you have a little day where not everything's going the way you want it to. Just had a little problem getting our bats going, and that made a big difference.

"If we get back to playing our game and doing what we've been doing all season — we've had a pretty solid season and we've played some good competition along the way — I think if the girls just kind of come and play their game they should have a good chance to do well and hopefully go far."

PAUL DUNBAR 6, LAFAYETTE 0

Lafayette 000 000 0—0 5 4

Dunbar 203 001 x—6 7 0

Ward, Stephens (3) and Mitchell; Morgan and Ferguson. W—Morgan. L—Ward. 2B—L: Perkins; D: Arnold. HR—D: Harvey, Shanks.

All-tournament team — Kenzi Groft, Tates Creek; Hannah Martin and Cece Wittry, Lexington Catholic; Hannah James and Charis Hill, Lexington Christian; Caroline Perkins, Katelyn Mitchell and Kecia Stephens, Lafayette; Shelby Shanks (MVP), Tia Wilson, Sydney Arnold and Stephanie Harvey, Dunbar.

All-district, first team — Shelby Shanks, Emily Bryan and Stephanie Harvey, Dunbar; Katelyn Mitchell, Caroline Perkins and Sarah Cooley, Lafayette; Sophie Robic and Cece Wittry, Lexington Catholic; Hannah James, Lexington Christian; Kendall Fields, Kenzi Groft and Bailey Skaggs, Tates Creek. Second team — Rachel Ferguson and Tia Wilson, Dunbar; Kara Bethel, Kecia Stephens and Madison Burke, Lafayette; Harper Ford, Lexington Catholic; Kaleigh Covington, Lexington Christian; Breeann Whitson, Mary Carter Downing and Hannah Brown, Tates Creek. Honorable mention — Hannah Martin, Lexington Catholic; Emily Orrender, Melissa Myers, Abigail James and Alex Byers, Lexington Christian.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL.Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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