By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
Any talk of the Tigers softball team being a fluke was silenced with two impressive wins Thursday to open the Corsicana Classic.
The Tigers won twice against teams that run-ruled them last season in this same tournament. Both Crawford and Huntsville beat the Tigers by at least 10 runs a year ago, but Corsicana got its revenge against both.
The Tigers held on to beat 4A Huntsville, 7-6, in the second game of the day, that after beating defending 2A state champion Crawford 8-5 in a morning game.
The Tigers, now 11-2 on the season, have made a major improvement in a year.
“I feel like it,” Tigers coach Elizabeth Collier said. “Those were two goods teams. Crawford won state. Huntsville crushed the ball last year and went 6-0 in this tournament.”
It was the Tigers who swung the bats Thursday. They had two triples against Huntsville, one by cleanup hitter Raylee Smithart that drove in two runs in the first inning, and the other by No. 9 hitter Carly Cates for an RBI in the top of the second as Corsicana built a 5-2 lead.
The Tigers are hitting the ball harder and they are seeing the results.
“It’s the weight room,” said Collier, speaking to the fact that the Tigers spent more time working out in the offseason.
The Tigers had to hang on in the late innings. Huntsville’s Kelsey Cryer belted a two-out, two-run home run to left field to cut Corsicana’s lead to 7-6 in the bottom of the fifth. Tigers starter Sidney Kirk got out of the inning on a nice play by catcher Leeah Seth on a tapper in front of the plate.
Kirk got three straight outs in the bottom of the sixth on ground balls to clinch the win.
The Tigers played great defense with right fielder McKala Goodwin making a shoe-string catch on a sinking line drive. And Jourdan Bruce made the defensive play of the night, making a diving stop and making a throw on her back to nip the runner at first base.
“We’ve been playing good defense,” Collier said. “We’re pitching and we’re hitting. We’ve sold ourselves that we can do everything.”
Corsicana 7, Huntsville 6
Corsicana 320 020 — 7 9 3
Huntsville 201 030 — 6 5 0
WP — Sidney Kirk
LP — Courtney Park
Top hitters — Corsicana: Katy Polk 3-4 (RBI, 2 runs), Sidney Kirk 2-2 (2B, RBI, run), Raylee Smithart 2-2 (3B, 2 RBIs, run), Carly Cates 1-3 (3B, RBI, run); Huntsville: Kelsey Cryer 2-3 (HR, 3 RBIs, run), Morgan Chatham 1-2 (2B, run, SB).
Records — Corsicana 11-2.
Corsicana 8, Crawford 5
Crawford 300 20 — 5 7 3
Corsicana 107 0x — 8 10 0
WP — Raylee Smithart
LP — Dutch
Top hitters — Corsicana: Kelsie Triplett 1-2 (2B, 2 RBIs), Sidney Kirk 3-3 (2B, 2 RBIs, run), Raylee Smithart 1-2 (run), Maddie Andrews 2-3 (RBI, run).
Records — Corsicana 10-2.