August 27, 2010 10:03:00 AM
The ping often gives it away.
But home run hitters don''t need to listen because they have a knack for hitting the ball on the sweet spot on the bat. When they do, a wonderful noise follows -- only for hitters -- that signals a ball is taking off and it won''t be coming back.
Jasmine Butler and Shanique Ousley discovered the beauty of that sound Thursday night and, in the process, joined the home run hitters club.
Butler had a grand slam and five RBIs, while Ousley had a two-run home run to lead the Columbus High School slow-pitch softball team to a 19-3 victory against Starkville High in a Class 6A, Region 1 game.
"A lot of them came up big," Columbus High coach Alissa Wriley said. "We didn''t leave as many runners on base. We have cut that down."
The game was stopped after four and a half innings due to the 15-run mercy rule.
Kierra Erby had two hits and Ariquissess Bradley, Shaquera Wilson, Taylor Blevins, and Brelana Coleman (two RBIs) also had hits to help Columbus improve to 4-5 and 1-0 in the region.
Butler''s grand slam came in a nine-run first inning that set the tone. The Lady Falcons tacked on two runs, thanks to Ousley''s home run, in the third and added eight more in the fourth to set the stage for the mercy rule. Columbus also benefited from 11 errors.
"I was just calm and I waited on the ball," Butler said of her blast that nearly went to dead center field. "I couldn''t tell it was going to go out. I was just happy (when I saw the ball clear the fence)."
Butler and Ousley said the victory was especially sweet because the Lady Falcons wanted to win for their injured teammate Timaria Hudgins, who was injured Tuesday in a car accident. Hudgins, who was the passenger, suffered a leg injury and will be out indefinitely.
Butler said she prayed before the game she would be able to deliver for Hudgins, while Ousley entered the game confident she could provide a lift for her injured teammate.
Ousley was even more confident after launching a ball to left-center field with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. The sound off the bat wasn''t as sweet as the sound on Butler''s home run, but the ball still easily cleared the fence.
"I knew it was gone," Ousley said. "I knew it because the way it hit the bat. I felt it."
What made it even better was the home runs were the first of the season for Butler and Ousley. It also was the first time Columbus had multiple home runs in a game this season. The home runs helped ensure the Lady Falcons lived up to their word.
"We said before the game we were going to win the game for (Hudgins)," Ousley said. "It felt good. We were able to do it because we have practiced hard and we have prepared ourselves for what we have to do in the game."
Ousley had a band aid under her left eye to cover a cut she suffered from a car accident she was in Aug. 20. Ousley, who was driving the car, walked away from the accident that totaled her vehicle. She said she didn''t need to make a deal with her parents that she would get another car if she hit a home run because her parents already had told her she could get a new car.
Starkville (2-4, 0-1) scored its three runs in the top of the fifth. Shanele Johnson, Jonissa Buchanan, TaDeshea Johnson, and Shanice Campbell had hits for the Lady Yellow Jackets.
Starkville High coach Lisa Spencer knew hitting was going to be a concern entering the season, but she said the team will continue to work hard to improve.
"We''re consistently working on it," Spencer said. "We''re not going to quit. The chips may look down right now, but we''re coming back."
Spencer said the Lady Yellow need to find a way to start games better She said slow starts have confounded the team all season, and she needs it to improve quickly.
"If we can ever get that start right I think we can get a complete game," Spencer said. "We''re still going to drill that in. We need a complete game.æ
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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