Sandy stays in control throughout during 5-1 win over Liberty
Timely hitting and solid pitching were again the two main ingredients in Sandys recipe for success, and the Liberty Eagles were on the short end on Wednesday. The Pioneers knocked off Liberty, 5-1, to extend their winning streak to 14 games.
Throughout Sandys hot streak, it has consistently gotten big hits in crucial situations. This time, most of those hits came from the bottom of the lineup.
In the bottom of the second inning, Liberty pitcher Ashley Driscoll quickly retired the first two Sandy batters. That brought up the seven-hitter Presley Turin, who poked an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a base hit. First baseman Tiffany Neumann moved Turin over with single to left field, also with two strikes against her.
With runners on first and second, No. 9 hitter Maddie Welch slapped the first pitch she saw into center field for an RBI-single. Turin, Neumann and Welch each had two hits in the game.
Our hitters, 1-9, are doing their jobs. You cant ask for more, Sandy coach Kellie Wilkerson said. They know their roles and they are getting it done. In our lineup, it doesnt matter if you are No. 1 or No. 9.
Because the bottom three hitters in the lineup all earned two-out hits in the second, leadoff hitter Meghan Luebbert got a shot open up the lead. Luebbert cashed in with deep fly ball that scooted all the way to the center field fence, scoring Neumann and Welch.
What has been working for me is staying relaxed and not thinking too much; just letting it happen, Luebbert said. I was trying to make good contact. When I do that, good things tend to happen.
Luebbert had a standup double, but decided late to go for the triple. Her slight hesitation cost her and she was thrown out at third base, but her two-run double put Sandy ahead 3-0.
The three-run lead gave pitcher Sammie Byron the breathing room she needed to go to work. Byron mowed down the Eagles and did not allow a hit in the first four innings. The first hit against Byron was a one-out bunt single by Karolyn Mason with two outs in the fifth inning.
Byron threw all seven innings, surrendering just two hits and one unearned run. She struck out five batters while walking two. Byron and the Sandy defense have not given up more than two runs in a game since their winning streak began more than a month ago.