April 10, 2010 11:03:00 PM
CALEDONIA -- Senior Night brought a much needed win for Robin Elmore''s Caledonia Lady Confederates as a big first inning against Starkville provided an early cushion in a 14-4 win Friday.
Nine runs allowed by the shorthanded Lady Jackets (5-14), who were without starting pitcher Jadee Sexton and starting catcher Sasha Shurden, labored through the first frame with 10 errors while Caledonia (5-13) took advantage of every mistake to build a lead it wouldn''t relinquish.
"It was good to score some runs early and build some confidence," Elmore said. "We''ve struggled with some youth this year and with it being Senior Night and us having a lot of road games left it''s good to score some runs and definitely get a win."
Starkville eventually switched pitchers, relieving Iyuna Clark for Nicole Hacket, who went the final 3 2/3 innings and gave up one earned run on two hits.
The Lady Jackets opened the fourth with back-to-back singles from Ty Ringo and Shareda Brown before Ringo scored on a passed ball and Brown scored on a out by Jonissa Buchanan.
Starkville''s spurt made it 11-3 in favor of Caledonia before Emily Hicks scored on a ground out and Cara Hopper on an error at third by Brown to push the lead to 13-3..
Playing to avoid the run-rule loss after four innings, Ringo split a pair of outfielders for an RBI double to left center, but was thrown out at third.
Ashley Langford''s RBI single in the bottom of the fifth iced the game for the Lady Feds.
With four players absent from Friday''s game -- Shurden and Sexton at the Armstrong Middle School beauty review -- Starkville coach Mimi Milling rued a missed chance at a winnable game.
Though she felt shorthanded, she knew Clark was pitching for the first and could struggle.
"Her first time pitching, I know it was tough for her but that''s more experience for her," Milling said. "Iyuna will get better from it, but I look at what Nicole was able to do when she came in and how it calmed down the girls behind her. Both of our pitchers today are in seventh grade, so it makes me feel good about the future."
Clark took the loss in the game, while Cara Hopper got the win for Caledonia. Hopper went three innings, gave up two hits and one earned run. She struck out five.
"We got good pitching from Cara and Blaire today, both of whom threw strikes," Elmore said.
Cara Hopper, Stephanie Hopper and Blair Ruth each had two RBIs for Caledonia, which plays at Houston on Monday.
Starkville was led at the plate by Ringo, who went 2 for 3 with an RBI.
The last home game of the season for the Lady Feds was capped with an emotional Senior Night ceremony for Stephanie Hopper, Allison Boney and injured catcher Shana Cruse, who tore a knee ligament in the final soccer game.
Boney went 1 for 3.
"It''s good to get a win for the seniors," Elmore said. "I know this year has been tough, and really tough on Shana because she didn''t get to play this year. But we''ve got a lot of games left and hopefully this can provide an extra spark."
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