Kelly softball team wastes little time jumping on Chaffee in opener

Thursday, August 23, 2012
Kelly center fielder Samantha Ratledge sprints in to grab a shallow fly ball during Wednesday's game against host Chaffee. (BRENT SHIPMAN ~ Sikeston Standard Democrat)

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The Kelly softball team couldn't ask for a much better start to the season.

The Hawks banged out 19 hits, grabbed a seven-run lead after two innings and held on for an 11-2 win over host Chaffee.

"We have focused a lot on the hitting because last year it seemed like we struggled with our hitting, and I pretty much have the same girls back, just losing two seniors," Kelly coach Rhonda Ratledge said. "I was definitely willing to focus quite a bit on that [in practice] because I only have four seniors and one junior this year."

The Hawks' first four hitters reached base before coming around to score, and Kelly struck for three more runs in the second inning.

The Hawks pushed their lead to 9-0 after four innings and may have ended the game early if not for a heads-up play by Chaffee shortstop Adrienne Eichhorn.

With the potential winning run on second and no outs in the fifth, Kelly hit a drive to short that a leaping Eichhorn was able to snag for an out.

Eichhorn threw to second to double off the runner.

The Red Devils did find some offense in the bottom of the fifth. Pinch-hitter Carleigh Burnett hit a two-out double to start off things before Eichhorn doubled her in to ruin the shutout.

Eichhorn later scored on a passed ball for Chaffee's other run.

"We came out the first couple innings and were a little shellshocked, I think," Chaffee coach Shawn Powderly said. "We didn't know quite what hit us there at the beginning. But after those first couple innings, we settled down and played a 3-2 ballgame."

Kelly, which outhit Chaffee 19-7, got an outstanding performance from the top of its lineup -- Samantha Ratledge, Morgan LeDure, Alexis Dock and Stephanie Worth. The four batters combined to go 14 for 18, including four doubles and six RBIs.

LeDure went 5 for 5, while Worth, the cleanup hitter, went 4 for 4 with two doubles and four RBIs.

Center fielder Samantha Ratledge made a couple of key grabs in the outfield and doubled in her first two at-bats. She finished 2 for 5 with an RBI.

"She did an excellent job as a starter," coach Ratledge said. "With her being my stepdaughter, you're a little nervous. You're harder on your own, so I didn't know how she would do at leadoff.

"She just stepped in, acted like it was no big deal and took over. That makes me feel real good. I'm real proud of her."

Cierra Crites led Chaffee by going 2 for 3, including a double.

"We should hit the ball well," Powderly said. "Today I think it was just a little first-half jitters that first time through the lineup. They weren't sure what to expect, but the second time through we started finding some gaps and hit the ball well."

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WP -- Kristi Brucker. LP -- Hailey Enderle. 2B -- Adrienne Eichhorn (C), Cierra Crites (C), Carleigh Burnett (C), Samantha Ratledge 2 (K), Stephanie Worth 2 (K). Multiple hits -- Kelly: Ratledge 2-5, Morgan LeDure 5-5, Alexis Dock 3-4, Worth 4-4, Darbe Backfisch 2-3, Brucker 2-4; Chaffee: Crites 2-3. Records -- Kelly 1-0, Chaffee 0-1.

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