Big hits, kicks and jumps
Triad softball coach Kris Kleeman did something different with her club over Easter weekend.
She gave the Knights the entire weekend off to savor the holiday. That spring break rest apparently was just what the Knights needed.
Rested and refreshed, Triad came out locked in and hammered Mississippi Valley Conference rival Highland 11-2 in a clash of league leaders Monday afternoon at Highland High School.
Triad (13-4, 4-1) won its fourth straight game and moved into a first-place tie with the Lady Bulldogs (8-5, 4-1).
Overall, Kleeman said she felt the extra rest helped fuel arguably the Knights’ best outing this spring.
“At end of the day, we’re just out here to play a softball game and do the best that we can,” Kleeman said. “Rested girls are happy girls.”
Liz Young dominated at the plate and in the pitching circle, ripping a grand slam, knocking in five runs and firing a complete game. She allowed just one earned run while securing her 12th win this spring.
“I think in my pitching, I was really focused and I was trying to hit my spots but as far as hitting, I was really seeing the ball well and our whole team was seeing the ball really well today,” Young said.
Isabelle Lehan added two hits, including a two-run single in the fifth inning that gave the Knights a comfortable 4-0 cushion.
Triad got control early, scoring a run in the first and second innings. After Lehan’s big two-run hit keyed the three-run fifth, catcher Payton Bode smacked a two-run home run in the sixth and Young’s grand slam capped off a four-run seventh inning.
“I think it’s like once our leadoff (hitter) gets on, we just all start rolling (with the bat),” Young said. “We pick each other up when we get down.”
Young put Triad in front with a double in the first off Highland ace Sam Miener that scored Kailey Daniel.
Lehan’s younger sister, Caroline, dropped down a bunt in the second, pushing the lead to 2-0. Isabelle Lehan’s single added two more runs and Ella Moore’s run-scoring double made the lead 5-0. Bode and Young capped off the Knights scoring with late-inning long balls.
Beating archrival Highland and being in the thick of the conference race is something the Knights are enjoying. They hope to keep improving as the stretch run of the season arrives.
“Yes, we’re in a very good spot and we can’t wait (to see how it goes),” Lehan said. “We’re gonna keep on working and keep on fighting and whatever happens, happens.”
Highland entered action with a five-game winning streak — including winning its first four league games — but Triad ran away from the Lady Bulldogs.
“We’ve been playing such solid ball lately,” Highland coach Glen Nicholls said. “But at the end of the day we just didn’t hit the ball and you have to score more than two runs to win.”
Now that Nicholls’ lineup has seen Young, the Lady Bulldogs are definitely looking forward to the rematch in two weeks.
“We’ve seen her for seven innings now, I feel confident we’ll be able to score more than two runs against her next time around,” Nicholls said.
Sidney Parkerson went 2-for-3 to lead Highland and Lilly Garbett went 1-for 3-with a double and a run scored.