By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
ALEXANDRIA, Ind. —
Early in the season, when there has been limited outdoor practice time to prepare and get to know his or her team, a coach might question the team’s focus and fight.
After Wednesday evening’s 10-5, come-from-behind win over the Wes-Del Warriors, Alexandria softball coach, Jim King can put to rest any concerns with the fight in his time-tested Tigers.
“They (Wes-Del) hit the ball early,” King Said. “The first game, our pitcher threw a one-hitter so there was not much action out there. Today when the ball started getting hit around they was not ready for that.”
Alexandria found itself down 3-0 before the first out of the game was recorded after four straight Warrior hits.
“I knew it was early and I knew there was a lot of ball game left after the first inning,” Alexandria’s junior starting pitcher Mariah Cook said. “I had faith in myself and my teammates that we would get it done.”
Cook and her Tiger teammates clawed their way back in the game with quality pitching and timely hitting.
“We are an older, more experienced team,” King said. “They didn’t get rattled, they just stayed with the game plan.”
Cook (2-0) allowed just two more runs over the final six innings to earn her second win of the season.
Over her seven innings of work, Cook tossed 121 pitches, 76 of them for strikes. She game up five runs, four of them earned on nine hits. She recorded nine strikes outs and four walks.
“She is awesome,” King said of his pitcher. “She is only going to get stronger.”
With two runs in the first inning and two in the second, it was the third that was the charm for Alexandria when it put two more on the board to take a 6-5 lead.
After the Warriors record two quick outs, Tiger freshman second baseman, Maggie Phelps reached first after beating the throw on a fielder’s choice. A walk to Ashley Beeson followed by a single to right field by Shelby Farmer to score Phelps tied it at five.
The winning run came when on a Jamie Dircks single to the third baseman, scoring Beeson.
“That is a sign of age,” King said. “I have a lot of quality players on this team that know how to play softball.”
Dircks led the Tigers with three hits, two singles and a double and two RBIs in four at bats.
Despite recording just one hit in her four plate appearances, Phelps showed poise and patience for Alexandria (2-0) at the plate by reaching base three times and scoring two key runs.
“I was a little nervous at first but I think it will help me improve throughout the season,” Phelps said. “They slowly went away as the game went on.”
Nerves aside, her play was noticed.
“She has shown a lot of promise at the beginning of this year,” King said. “That is reason she gets to play some.”
Wes-Del was led by freshman catcher Kalsi Glaze who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
King said he likes what he has in his ball club this year. He added that the emergence of his young players is an added bonus.
“I think I have eight girls that can hit over 300,” King said. “I can’t mess up this line up.”