CORINTH — Heading into Thursday’s District 5-4A rivalry game between Guyer and Lake Dallas, both teams were in the midst of team-wide hitting slumps.
Guyer was held to two hits in Tuesday’s shutout loss to Trophy Club Nelson, while Lake Dallas had lost two straight, including being no-hit by Nelson and managing just three hits Tuesday against Wichita Falls Rider.
On Thursday, only one team busted its slump as Guyer cruised to a 9-1 win over Lake Dallas, collecting 14 hits off star pitcher Chrisa Head. The top four in Guyer’s order combined to go 10-for-14 at the plate.
“It’s very easy to make an excuse about it being spring break and having to practice or play games, but these kids don’t do that,” Guyer coach Keith Medford said. “We had a great practice [Wednesday], which is hard a day after a loss, and that’s what good teams do. I was proud of how we bounced back, because Chrisa is a very good pitcher.”
Guyer (15-2-1, 3-1 district) chipped away at Head and the Lady Falcons after the teams traded runs in the second inning, before eventually busting the game wide open with a four-run sixth.
After Guyer led off the inning with a strikeout, four straight Lady Wildcats got hits, including three of the infield variety. The other was a long ball, as No. 9 hitter Hannah Hodapp slap-hit a 1-2 pitch to the opposite field and over the left-center field wall.
Guyer cleanup hitter Kennedy Been collected yet another infield single before Megan Washam drove a two-run single to right field to cap the inning’s scoring.
Been, who has battled a recent tendency to strike out, broke out of her personal slump in a big way, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and two doubles.
“That’s why we haven’t changed our lineup,” Medford said. “We believe in our kids. Not just Kennedy — there’s a lot of them that utilized what they do. Our slappers were doing their job. Our power hitters were doing what they do.”
Lake Dallas coach Dugan Walker said the fateful inning was a result of a few missed pitches and a lot of gained confidence that turned in a manageable deficit into a blowout.
“Kids get that spark and get fired up,” Walker said. “It’s like throwing a steak in front of a dog. They get a little hungry and now the ball gets big. Instead of seeing a pea, it looks like a beach ball. When it gets that big, it gets fun to hit, and they started exploding with the bat. We missed a few spots, and they hit the ball and hit it well. I can’t take that away from them.”
While the Lady Wildcats were hitting everything in sight, senior pitcher Suzette Palmer was having her way with the Lady Falcon hitters. After Lake Dallas (13-6, 1-3) picked up two second-inning hits, Palmer pitched four straight no-hit innings before giving up her third and final hit in the seventh with the game out of hand.
Palmer struck out nine batters and got out of an early predicament in the second, holding the Lady Falcons to one run when the damage could have been worse.
Lake Dallas’ first three hitters reached base, including an RBI single from Calli Fauver before Palmer retired the inning’s final two batters with runners stranded on second and third to preserve the 1-all tie.
“She was on,” Medford said of his senior. “That’s the thing about her. She has so much grit and determination. [Catcher] Megan [Washam] called a beautiful game. She was really in tune to what she wanted to do and how she wanted to attack those batters. Suzie followed Megan’s plan and executed it and hit her spots all night.”
She also got help from a stellar defensive effort, most notably first baseman Shayne Starkey, who got the start in the circle in Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Nelson.
“She makes so many plays,” Medford said of the sophomore first baseman. “She made phenomenal plays. We’re blessed to have her there. I haven’t seen a more athletic first baseman.”
Guyer will next face state-ranked Wichita Falls Rider, which is tied with the Lady Wildcats and Nelson in the district standings. Lake Dallas will try to snap a three-game skid against winless Wichita Falls before facing district-leading Fort Worth Brewer.
“It’s going to be a building process with this group,” Walker said. “We had a lot of success earlier [in the season], but we didn’t play a bunch of people with the caliber we’re seeing now. This three-game skid right here might make us or break us, I don’t know. There’s still a lot of games left to be played, but we need to win [against Wichita Falls] and figure out how to start playing well.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
GUYER 9, LAKE DALLAS 1
WP — Suzette Palmer. LP — Chrisa Head. 2B — G: Shayne Starkey, Kennedy Been 2. LD: Macey Bauman. HR — G: Hannah Hodapp.