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Chipola 7-2 to Start the Year

February 17, 2009


The Chipola Lady Indians softball team is 7-2 after the first two weeks of the season, taking six straight after losing two of their first three.

Chipola fell to Salt Lake City 6-5 Jan. 31, and 12-1 to Central Arizona Feb. 1 in Las Vegas, to start the year at 1-2.

However, the Lady Indians responded with wins over Southern Nevada and North Idaho in Las Vegas. They then took a 5-3, nine-inning win over Yavapai and a 7-6 win over North Idaho Feb. 2 to complete their opening weekend in Nevada.

Chipola came back home Feb. 8 to beat Gordon College 2-1 and 9-0 in a doubleheader.

Lady Indians coach Belinda Hendrix said she was happy to be 7-2, although she wishes her team didn’t has as many peaks and valleys.

“Right now, we’re a little inconsistent,” the coach said. “If we could stay consistent and play like we did on the third day in Las Vegas, we would be pretty good. We just have to get to that level where we give 100 percent every time we step on the field.”

Hendrix attributes the inconsistency to a team short on returning players and big on freshmen in key roles.

“It’s just some freshmen not knowing that everything and every pitch counts,” the coach said. “The first game (against Gordon College), we barely won 2-1. We were facing average pitching and we didn’t make any adjustments at the plate. In the second game, we made an adjustment and started hitting.”

Hendrix said that the team’s pitching has improved since the start of the year, with transfer Rayna McClinton providing a big boost.

“Our pitching is looking better,” the coach said. “Rayna McClinton has pitched two complete games, and had 11 strikeouts in one and 12 in another. I’m really pleased with her. I know she’s going to help us a lot when we play in the Panhandle Conference.

“Brooke Muth has started coming around and being the Brooke we expect. I’m pretty pleased with the pitching. They always tell me that hitting is behind the pitching at the start of the year, so we have a ways to go with that.”

Hendrix said the defense is starting to come around as well, as illustrated by a spectacular ninth-inning catch by Michelle Hewett in the 5-3 win over Yavapai.

Hewett, an outfielder, took away a sure home run by Yavapai in the ninth with a runner on by reaching over the fence and falling over in the process of bringing in the ball.

The Lady Indians then rallied in the bottom of the ninth to take the victory with a walk-off home run.

“That was just a big-time play,” Hendrix said.

The Lady Indians, who have been off since Feb. 8, were scheduled to play today at home against Darton at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., although a high chance of rain could mean a potential cancellation.

Hendrix said her team has taken advantage of the time off to rest and refocus on doing the things necessary to win softball games.

“We’re resting arms. We have some girls with sore arms,” the coach said. “We got back to practice Monday and back to working on fundamentals. We have to do a better job of making adjustments in games.

“But I’m pleased overall. We have some that are still having to learn what it takes, but overall I’m pleased. We’ve got a long way to go though.”

The Lady Indians will play a tournament in Aiken, S.C. running from Friday through Sunday.

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