DENHAM SPRINGS – Denham Springs’ softball team had lost four straight games to Northshore going into Monday’s contest at North Park.
A determined senior in the circle and a scrappy freshman on the base paths helped put an end to that losing streak.
Senior Natalie Parker threw a four-hit shutout and struck out 11 and freshman first-baseman Charleigh Parolli got two hits and was a key figure in her team’s scoring a 3-0 victory over Northshore.
Denham Springs (7-2) had lost to Northshore (5-2) twice in each of the last two seasons, with all four games being decided by three runs or less.
On this day it was all about the dominance in the circle by Parker, who used a variety of pitches to shut down a Northshore team that had been averaging 11 runs per game.
“She had very good command of all her pitches,” Denham Springs coach Leslie Efferson-Yellott said of Parker, who didn’t walk any batters. “Any time that you have a pitcher who can mix speeds the way that Nat can, but throws the changeup with such command, it’s a deadly pitch. It’s the one the best hitters have the most trouble with.”
Parker thought it was one of the best games of her career - a career that’s had enough solid performances to earn her a scholarship to play at Hinds Community College.
“It was one of my best because I was just calm and I hit my spots,” she said. “I spun the ball really well and Coach E (Efferson-Yellot) called a really, really good game. Before the game I was making my warmup pitches really good and I went into the game with the mentality that I was about to shut them down.”
Denham Springs broke a scoreless tie with its first run in the bottom of the third.
Gabby Parsons led off the inning with a double to left-center. With one out, Parolli hit a grounder to first-baseman Alora McInnis, who had to move away from the bag to field the ball.
McInnis knew she couldn’t beat the speedy Parolli to the base, so she hurriedly tried to throw the ball to second-baseman Key Coulon, who had the throw carom off her glove and trickled into foul territory, allowing Parsons to score.
The Lady Jackets added two runs in the fifth.
With Rayne Minor on second, Parolli pulled a line-drive into right that landed in front of Northshore’s right-fielder Sydney Tycer, who charged the ball on the in hopes of scooping it up and making a throw to the plate.
However, the ball rolled under her glove and went all the way to the fence, allowing Minor to score and Parolli motored all the way around the bases to score easily, beating the throw back into the infield.
Efferson-Yellott was excited about what Parolli brings to the offense as the two-hole hitter.
“She has been clutch,” said Efferson-Yellott. “She is just a freshman, but she always seems to get it done, someway, somehow. She is faster than people think she is. She is so tall, people underestimate her speed.”
With a three-run lead, Parker finished off the Panthers with ease, retiring the final six batters.
“They are a good team,” Efferson-Yellott said of Northshore. “Their pitcher No. 7 (Montana Young) is a quality pitcher. She is tough to hit. That was a good win for us.”
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