August 5, 2009 8:55:00 AM
There''s something to be said for sure-handedness.
For Heritage Academy''s Kristyn Atkins, all it took Tuesday was a rosin bag to help her feel more comfortable.
The senior pitcher used rosin to keep her right hand dry en route to a complete-game three-hitter in an 8-1 victory against Hebron Christian.
Atkins (1-1) struck out four, walked one, and never was in any serious trouble.
"It didn''t seem to be quite as hot (as Monday) and I just focused more and had a better grip on the ball," Atkins said. "I also held on to the ball a little longer."
Heritage Academy coach Ginny Lowery said Tuesday''s effort was much better than her team''s performance Monday in a 7-2 loss at Carroll Academy.
She said a practice session at 9 a.m. Tuesday helped the team''s focus and translated into a better hitting effort.
"A perfect game like that with no errors is all you can ask for," Lowery said.
Lowery said Atkins struggled Monday to keep her hand dry against Carroll Academy. As a result, she hit two batters, which is something Lowery said Atkins never does.
"It was so hot yesterday, and when you''re getting a wet ball (from the umpire) when you''re expecting a dry one, it doesn''t help," Lowery said.
Atkins said she located her pitches much better against Hebron Christian. She admitted not knowing how she hit two players Monday, but she said she was more relaxed Tuesday in the circle.
Atkins can feel at ease because she knows her teammates will play solid defense behind her.
Heritage Academy second baseman Logan Waggoner helped turn a double play in the first inning after the team committed its only error of the game on the previous play.
Atkins also started a double play in the fourth when she snared a line drive by Hillary Arnold and doubled up Alaina Hill.
"Good defense always gives you more confidence knowing that if you don''t make the best pitch they are going to be behind you and helping you out," Atkins said. "The team was kind of off last night, so we didn''t have as much relief from defense, but today was better, so I was a lot more relaxed.
Atkins had a single and a triple and reached base in all four of her at-bats (hit by pitch, walk). She accounted for the Lady Patriots'' two runs Monday night.
"Not only is she effective in the circle, but she is doing her part out of the circle," Lowery said. "She is not scared to throw it up there and let them hit it. Our defense is pretty good, so I think having a little back up is helping."
Allie Lowe had two hits and three RBIs, Shiloh Ellis had a hit and an RBI, and Waggoner had an RBI for the Lady Patriots.
Beverly Blake''s RBI single in the second inning scored Hill (walk) with the only run for Hebron Christian (0-3), which didn''t play with the same intensity coach Cass Tapley saw last weekend at the Bayou Tournament.
"We were completely awful," Tapley said. "Hitting, pitching, catching, we were awful, if that makes it clear."
Tapley said the warm weather Tuesday didn''t play a part in his team not coming to play.
"At least it was a team effort," Tapley said. "I don''t know where we go from here. I guess we just keep playing. They are a very talented group, but they have to decide they''re going to play."
Tapley said he never has been more disappointed in the team that he was Tuesday. He said his daughter, Chloe, had control problems in the circle (four walks, four hit batters). He said other fielders also had difficulty catching the ball on routine plays.
"I didn''t see it coming," Tapley said. "I thought we were right on track with the way we played last weekend. We can get back to playing good or it is going to be a long season.
"This was nothing like we are. I guess you are always going to say that after a loss, but we weren''t even close. Maybe they will show up Thursday."
Hebron Christian plays host to Winston Academy on Thursday, while Heritage Academy plays at Oak Hill Academy.
n Oak Hill Academy 4, Kirk Academy 2: At West Point: Megan Holton had two doubles and two RBIs Tuesday to help the Lady Raiders improve to 1-1.
Holton also scored two runs as Oak Hill plated three runs in the fifth inning to earn the victory.
Maegen Ellis and Mamie Allen combined in the circle for the victory.
Ellis started the game and allowed three hits, walked two, and struck out one. Allen allowed one hit and walked two in the final two innings for the save.
Ellis also had a hit and scored a run, Allen had two hits and an RBI, Anna Claire Spradling had a hit, Lauren Hitt had two hits, and Anna Lummus added a hit for Oak Hill Academy.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.