Western powers past Poly, 17-14

In opener ruled by batters, defending champs prevail

March 24, 2000|By Andrea Leand | Andrea Leand,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Proving to be every bit the defending city champions, visiting Western out-slugged Poly, 17-14, yesterday to prevail in its season opener.

Buoyed by eight senior starters, the Doves used superior experience and execution to triumph in the nearly three-hour game that was suspended after the six innings due to darkness. The Engineers scored nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings, but Western prevailed with aggressive base running and clutch hitting.

"Every time we needed a hit we got it, especially in the sixth inning, but then we are a big-hitting team," Western coach Shawn Stoliker said. "And our aggressiveness on base helped us steal about five to six bases an inning. We didn't play our best, but this is the first game and we'll work out a few things to get better."

From the outset, Western pressured Poly pitcher Jaydee Toe. Its leadoff batter, Jamaica Wood, singled and stole second and third. After Toe gave up a pair of walks and hit Heather Delair in the foot with a wild pitch, Wood scored the Doves' first run.

After a 26-minute first inning, Western widened the gap to 10-5 in a five-run second inning on Melissa Mumaw's double, singles by Wood and Beth Mason and three Poly errors on fly balls.

"We are a very young and inexperienced team this year," Poly coach Norman Perry said. "We have a lot of growing and work to be done because most of our kids have not had [varsity] experience."

Poly regrouped in the fourth inning against Doves pitcher Ericka Butler and scored five times to tie it at 10.

Western answered with three runs in the fifth, but Poly bounced right back with four more for a 14-13 lead.

"We were just getting going," Poly's Shavonda Henry said. "With just three seniors on the team, a lot of us are playing together for the first time. But by the fourth [inning], we were making a comeback. And if it hadn't gotten dark and the game stopped, we really could have won."

Wood spearheaded Western's decisive four-run rally in the sixth, and as the night skies fell, the Doves' defense finished off the abbreviated game.

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