By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Madison Central softball coach Daniel Rogers said he has been preaching patience at the plate to his team all season.
Thursday in a 10-0 win over Madison Southern (1-2), the Lady Indians looked like they have finally gotten the message.
Central hitters continually worked deep into the count against Southern pitcher Tara Bord, waiting for a pitch they could drive.
In the third inning that patience paid off as the Lady Indians (2-3) broke open a scoreless game, pushing five runs across the plate, three of which came on Summer Fleeman’s home run to center field, the first of her career.
The Lady Indians added one run each in the fourth and fifth innings, then tacked on two more in the sixth off of Southern reliever Makenzie Richardson
“We have tried to get them to stay patient the past four or five games and we haven’t done that. Finally tonight they clicked and really understood that if they stay patient, they are going to hit the ball out of the ballpark and that’s what happened,” Rogers said. “That is a sign of a good team. When you are patient and she makes a mistake, you take advantage of it.”
While the Central hitters were putting the bat on the ball, pounding out 10 hits in the game, Lady Indians’ pitcher Mackenzie Wilder limited the Lady Eagles to two singles, one in each of the first two innings.
Wilder got the complete-game shutout, giving up the two hits, while striking out five and walking only one batter.
Rogers said it was by far his sophomore hurler’s best game of the young season and something he expects to see a lot more of the rest of the season.
“She couldn’t have pitched a better game,” Rogers said. “She had good control and really worked the plate. I think she is just going to keep getting better throughout the year.”
Although she was on the short end of the score, Bord pitched a pretty good game herself, recording five strikeouts and three walks, while giving up eight hits and eight runs over five innings of work.
The Lady Indians capitalized on each of the walks, following them up with base hits to eventually score the runner. They also took advantage of several Southern miscues in the field to score unearned runs.
Southern coach Brian Foley said he thought that overall his young pitcher did a good job on the mound other than the two or three pitches she got up in the strike zone and gave Central credit for taking advantage of some young mistakes.
“I think Tara pitched very well. She’s just a sophomore and she’s got to learn this isn’t JV, you have to really work at every pitch, every inning. You can’t take a pitch off,” Foley said. “In our first two games, we knew we had some weaknesses defensively and Central really exposed some of those tonight. Some of our mistakes were mental, just routine plays and they jumped on every mistake that Tara made.”
Southern also had three runners thrown out trying to steal in the game, one at home, one at third and one at second, but Foley said he will continue to have his team run, because that is what it needs to do to be successful.
“That is one thing we are going to do this year. We are an aggressive team. We have team speed and we are going to use that,” Foley said. “I tried to set the tempo early. I think there were a couple of bad calls at third and at home. But we will continue to be aggressive.”
Katie Brock led the way at the plate for Central with a single, double and solo home run and three RBI. Fleeman had the home run and a double and four RBI, while Kirstin Spillman, Wilder, and Courtney Patton added RBI singles and Makenzie Humphrey had a single.
Bethany Mays and Briana Lanham had the only two hits for the Lady Eagles, both singles.
Neither team has games scheduled next week due to spring break.