Shelby County defeats Briarwood Christian in area game

Shelby County High School softball coach Ashley Phillips has seen his Wildcats struggle to field well-hit balls through the the first three games of the 2010 season.

Phillips enjoyed watching the defensive effort by his Wildcats in their 5-0 win over Briarwood Christian School in a Class 5A, Area 8 game March 11.

Shelby County finished the game without an error and the Wildcats made a couple of spectacular plays in the field to keep the Lions off the scoreboard.

“So far we’ve made a lot of errors,” Phillips said. “(Tonight) was the most complete game we’ve played yet.”

Shelby County junior pitcher Elizabeth Waldrop posted her first shutout of the season to lead the Wildcats, who improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in Class 5A, Area 8.

Waldrop gave up only four hits and struck out five batters with three walks in a complete game. Waldrop even made a spectacular grab with her glove on a line drive in the top of the sixth inning to stave off a scoring threat by the Lions.

“I thought (tonight) was the best she’s pitched all year,” Phillips said. “She kept them under control.”

Waldrop also led the Wildcats at the plate as she went 1-for-2 with a single and drove in two runs. Brianna Buie finished 1-for-3 with a single and a run scored. Courtney Shields went 1-for-2 at the plate with a single and scored two runs.

Jodi King and Ashlyn Blackerby scored one run each. Jaselyn Harrison drove in one run.

The loss overshadowed a solid outing on the mound by Briarwood eighth-grader Morgan Reed. Reed didn’t allow an earned run as she struck out 13 batters with five walks.

“She doesn’t get down if something happens,” said Briarwood coach Suzanne Serrano. “She battled throughout the game.”

Caroline Seay went 1-for-2 with a double. April Harris and Brooke Calma each finished 1-for-3 with a single. Carleigh Brown went 1-for-2 with a single.

The Lions (4-2, 1-1 in Class 5A, Area 8) were hurt by fielding errors, including an error in each of the final four innings.

The Wildcats plated three runs in the bottom of the third inning without a hit. Blackerby led off with a walk, advanced to third on a thowing error and scored on a passed ball. Shields reached base on the throwing error and also scored on a passed ball. Buie reached base on a walk and was driven in by Waldrop on a grounder back to the mound.

Shelby County added another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Shields led off with an infield single, reached second base on a throwing error, advanced to third on a bunt and came home on an RBI single by Waldrop.

The Wildcats posted their final run in the bottom of the sixth inning. King raced from home plate to third base as a Briarwood outfielder struggled to glove her fly ball to right field. King came home on a fielder’s choice hit by Harrison.

Serrano said the Lions will regroup before their final four Class 5A, Area 8 games.

“We’ll be ready,” Serrano said. “You take a loss and you learn from it.”