WALKER -- Maybe new contact lenses and a new spot in the batting order were all Halee Morris needed to get going.
Morris hit a pair of home runs -- a three-run shot and a two-run blast -- to power the Lady Bulldogs to a 9-5 victory against Walker on Tuesday.
"I'm not usually the best batter," said Morris, who got new contacts before the game. "I recently moved up from ninth hole to fifth and I guess I got a little confidence, which I haven't ever really had."
"Like Coach said, we're just going to bottle this up and open it every game."
The power surge may have taken Morris by surprise, but it wasn't totally unexpected for Lady Bulldogs’ coach Ashley Ledet.
"These girls can hit the ball," Ledet said. "I see them hit the ball every day at practice, but we weren't producing the hits in games that I see at practice, so last week we revamped our batting practice. We revamped our warm-ups before the game. I guess the revamp worked."
The Lady Cats committed errors in both innings when Morris hit home runs, something Walker coach Hali Westmoreland Fletcher mulled after putting her team through defensive drills following the game's conclusion.
"We practice fundamentals day in and day out and when it's not executed, more practice it is," she said. "They do fine in practice, but they have to be able to bring it into the game, and that's our next thing to work on. Errors cannot happen when it's the routine plays. That's what ate us up – routine plays."
Springfield snapped a 5-5 tie in the top of the 6th inning when Caleigh Steele's bases-loaded shot to second base scored Tabby Lobell, who had walked and moved to third on a throwing error to first.
That set the stage for Morris, who cranked a three-run home run, her second of the game, to cap the scoring.
"As soon as I hit it, I said, 'Oh, that's caught', and I took off running," Morris said. "I wasn't sprinting like the last one, then it was over and I just freaked out."
Walker added to a 3-1 lead with a two-run 4th inning after the Lady Bulldogs had two errors around Haleigh Pourciau's double, the second on a throw to first base from shortstop that allowed two runs to score for a 5-1 lead.
Morgan Sibley got a complete-game win.
"When you have a four-run deficit and you can come back from that, that's the mentality that we've been looking for," Ledet said. "Morgan kept to it. We trusted in her. We kept her up there. That was the game plan. We were keeping her in until there is an absolute reason for her to have to come out of the game. For me, even in the four-run deficit, there was no absolute reason for her to come out."
Springfield fought back in a big way when Morris' two-run home run to right field highlighted a four-run top of the 5th to tie the score at 5-5.
"I was not expecting it," Morris said of the hit.
"When I got to first base, I actually screamed. I was pretty excited and I was definitely not expecting another one."
Added Ledet: "You know, the funny thing is, I moved Halee to the five-hole for speed.
"Any time I put her anywhere, she shows me that she's capable of doing what I ask her to do and more. That's what makes a great athlete."
After Lobell and Lauren Price got hits, the inning continued when a ball was dropped in center field with two outs, allowing two runs to score.
The Lady Cats manufactured a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Savanah Stafford doubled to lead off the inning and Meagan White hit a slow roller. Stafford scored when Shea Covington popped out to catcher and White went to second.
When the Lady Bulldogs threw down to first, Stafford broke from third and scored for a 2-0 lead.
"We are trying to inch runs every single inning," Westmoreland Fletcher said. “That's our goal every game is to score runs every inning, because we're very young, and I've got a lot of inexperienced girls. So in order to stay in the games with the big teams, we have to (get) runs every inning. It doesn't matter how we get them. I just need runs crossing the plate."
Springfield picked up a run in the top of the 3rd inning when Lobell doubled and scored on Price's grounder to short.
Walker padded the lead in the bottom of the 3rd as Laynie Jones reached on an error to start the inning and scored on Gracie Jones' one-out grounder to short.
With two outs and a runner on, Laynie Jones doubled, and Brennan Jones beat a throw to first to score the game's first run in the bottom of the 1st.
SPRINGFIELD 9, WALKER 5
Springfield 001 044 0 -- 9 11 5
Walker 111 200 0 -- 5 7 3
Morgan Sibley and Cheyanne Morris; Haleigh Pourciau, Mary Hughes (6) and Alayna Adams. W – Sibley (2-6). L – Pourciau (2-8). 2B: Springfield – Annie Romano, Tabby Lobell; Walker – Pourciau, Laynie Jones, Meagan White, Savanah Stafford 2. HR: Springfield – Halee Morris 2 (2). Records: Springfield 2-6, Walker 3-8. Up next: Walker at Maurepas, 3:30 p.m. Thursday; Sumner Tournament – Springfield vs. Hammond, 4 p.m. Friday.
Rob DeArmond is a sports writer for The Livingston Parish News.
You can reach him at Robdearm@gmail.com
Follow on Twitter: @RobDeArmond | @LPN_Sports | @LPNews1898
Check out these Livingston Parish headlines from March 6, 2018!