DENHAM SPRINGS – A complete effort throughout the offensive lineup, error-free defense and solid effort in the circle added up to one thing for Denham Springs’ softball team – a 10-0 mercy-rule victory Wednesday over Springfield.
“I have no complaints about that,” Denham Springs head coach Leslie Efferson-Yellot said. “We did a good job putting the bat on the ball, executing and stealing.”
The Lady Jackets (6-1) had seven of their nine batters record a hit to back the pitching of senior Natalie Parker, who tossed a one-hit shutout in the abbreviated game.
“One through nine, we’re much stronger (than last year),” Efferson-Yellot said. “I feel like their hitting, their fielding, they’re playing with a lot more confidence.”
After allowing a leadoff single to start the game, Parker shut the Bulldogs down completely, not allowing another hit in the following four innings. She finished with eight strikeouts and only allowed two more runners on base with a walk and error on a dropped third strike.
“She’s kind of been doing that all season,” Efferson-Yellot said of Parker. “She’s had some really good games. She’s thrown two perfect games and a couple of one-hitters. She’s doing a really good job on the mound and she’s always been a great hitter. So now I think she’s more comfortable doing her job on both sides of the ball. She’s more confident this year.”
“In the beginning, I feel like I was slower,” Parker said. “I feel like I wasn’t thinking as much, and I wasn’t prepared. But as it progressed, I think I built up my confidence and I threw harder and hit my spots better.”
In addition to her effort in the circle, Parker played a vital role at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Charleigh Parolli and Rayne Minor joined Parker with two-hit efforts.
“If I’m pitching bad and batting good, it usually carries over to the pitching because I feel like I’ve contributed,” Parker said.
Parker frustrated Springfield’s hitters with her new-look change-up, one the Bulldog hitters just couldn’t see to time up correctly.
“I’ve been working on my change-up a lot,” Parker said. “It’s been one the pitches I’ve been struggling with. But I’m working hard and it’s getting me through batters.”
Springfield coach Ashley Ledet said her team struggled with timing up Parker’s change-up.
“The contact was there as far as putting the ball in play, we just couldn’t get good hits,” she said. “We didn’t catch the center piece of the ball, we didn’t sit back and drive it. We couldn’t read that pitch.”
Ledet’s team, which is winless in five games this season, wasn’t too discouraged by the result.
“It’s not like there were a ton of defensive errors,” she said. “They’re putting the ball in play. There are some things that we can get better on and execute on. We let too many runners get into scoring position instead of holding on to those. Singles to singles, we let them drag them out and allowed doubles. They definitely killed us on the steal from second to third. That was all night long, that can’t happen at this level.”
The Lady Jackets scored three runs off four hits in the first inning, four runs off three hits in the second, and three runs off three hits in the third inning to reach the 10-run limit.
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