Softball: Tough to handle

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David Minton/DRC
Guyer's Tatum Branch (7) makes an out at first on Azle's Valarie Matlock (00), Friday, April 4, 2014, in Denton.
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Azle pitcher shuts down Guyer’s bats in District 5-4A contest

In previous meetings, Guyer had its fair share of success against Azle pitcher Makenzi Harris, as evidenced by the teams’ last meeting when the Lady Wildcats scored seven runs and lost a late lead to district-leading Azle.

On Friday night, Harris had Guyer’s number.

The Azle pitcher struck out 15 batters, including the side three times, and held off a couple of early Guyer chances to lead the Lady Hornets to a 4-1 win to stay undefeated in District 5-4A play.

“She was on tonight,” Guyer head coach Keith Medford said of Harris. “Good grief, she had 15 Ks. She was hitting her spots and getting ahead of batters, and when you get ahead, [hitters] get desperate and swing at bad pitches. She’s a good pitcher. I have to give it to her.”

Guyer (20-4, 7-3 district), which is in a tie for second place with Fort Worth Brewer and Trophy Club Nelson, had the bases loaded with one out in the third inning and the heart of the order coming to the plate. But Harris struck out No. 3 hitter Lauren Lindgren and got a weak pop-up to the catcher from cleanup hitter Shayne Starkey to end the inning.

“You have to capitalize,” Medford said. “It’s easier said than done, but you expect your 3 and 4 [hitters] to come through in that situation. It didn’t happen. It had a lot to do with her [Harris].”

In the first inning, Guyer had runners at first and second with one out, but Starkey struck out and then Hannah Hodapp was thrown out trying to steal third to end the inning.

Azle head coach Tracy Tadlock said Harris settled into the game after getting out of the third-inning jam, as Guyer mustered just three more baserunners from the fourth inning on.

“She was a little loose in the beginning — walked a few people and hit a couple of girls,” Tadlock said. “I guess she just settled down. With a power pitcher a lot of times, you take some of that. They have a tendency to be a little wild, but she settled down and had a good game.

“If she gets any better than that, I want to see it.”

The Lady Hornets (24-4, 10-0) broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth with three singles and an error, with the big blow coming on a two-run single from No. 3 hitter Sam Bradley off Starkey, who had previously pitched a gem and induced several groundball outs. Azle added two more runs in the top of the seventh on a back-to-back extra-base hits off of Lindgren.

Medford said he was happy with how his team played the against state’s 11th-ranked team and said the game will help his squad in the postseason at the end of this month.

“This is a really good game for us to have,” Medford said. “Blowing people out and run-ruling people doesn’t help you. This was like a postseason game. We’ll see pitchers like that in the postseason, and we’ll see hitters like that in the postseason. I thought their coaching staff did a phenomenal job. This was exactly what we wanted tonight. Obviously it would’ve been better had we won, but this was a playoff atmosphere.”

ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.

Azle 4, Guyer 1

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WP — Makenzi Harris. LP — Shayne Starkey. 2B — A: Sarah Brown, Raelyn Temple. 3B — A: Bailee Carter, G: Tatum Branch. Records — Azle 24-4, 10-0; Guyer 20-4, 7-3.


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