By SHAWN YORKS
• Leader & Times
LIBERAL — Coming off a 3-17 season a year ago and with a young roster, there were a lot of questions for the Liberal Lady Redskins softball team coming into the 2011 campaign. The girls in red got off to a strong start, splitting with Hugoton on Thursday afternoon.
Hugoton took the opener 15-7 but Liberal rebounded to pound out a 15-8 win in the second game at the Liberal Softball Complex.
Despite the loss in game one, Liberal (1-1) played well.
“I thought we did well because we climbed back in it,” head coach Pat Knott said.
Liberal trailed just 4-3 after four innings and had taken an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Riley Hay reached on an error and advanced to third in a pair of ground outs. She scored on a passed ball.
After Hugoton (2-2) inched ahead 4-1 in the fourth, Liberal cut it to 4-3 on a pair of mistakes by the Lady Eagles. Micah Hasik singled with two outs, then Caity Hinnergardt struck out, but reached first when on a passed ball and throwing error that plated Hasik. Hinnergardt later scored on a single by Desirae Courkamp.
Hugoton exploded for five runs in the fifth to take a 9-3 lead, but Liberal responded four in the bottom of the inning to make it 9-7.
Kaitlyn Ralston hit a 2-run error-aided home run that also scored Hay, then two straight Hugoton errors scored Jai Chapman. Courkamp later singled in Jaycee Darroch.
Hugoton was able to shut the Liberal bats down in the final two innings to pull out the win.
Darroch took the loss in game one, striking out five, walking five and giving up 13 hits.
In game two, the Liberal bats woke up as five different players had multiple base hits. Hay, Chapman, Ramey Petty, Hasik and Ralston each had two hits. Cynthia Cisneros smacked a triple, while Darroch, Hasik and Emily Bayouth each hit doubles.
Hasik knocked in three runs and Petty two while Chapman scored five times as Liberal pounded out 14 hits.
Petty got the win in the circle, giving up 10 hits and striking out three.
“I thought we came out a little better with what we’re trying to do (in the second game),” Knott said. “Once they settled down and figured out what we’ve been trying to do in practice, as far as swinging the bats to where we’re supposed to be swinging it and not just flailing it, we got a little bit better.”
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