Lady Warriors down Bulldogs

By Matt Hill

   Like a box of the Carnation breakfast product, the Happy Valley Warrior softball team heated up in an instant Thursday afternoon.
   The Lady Warriors used a nine-run fourth inning to pull away from Hampton and take a 13-2 triumph over the Lady Bulldogs
   Happy Valley broke open what was a 3-1 Warrior lead, and turned the contest into a 12-1 rout after the frame was over.
   The Warriors did their damage in the fourth on five hits and seven walks.
   "Sometimes we start out slow," Happy Valley head coach Kerri Killen said. "I try to get on them and get on them that we need to have one or two of those big innings because you never know what's going to happen. We can't wait around and wait around, we've got to jump on them early."
   Hampton did give up the one big inning, but with the exception of the fourth Heather Chambers had a very solid outing.
   Hampton head coach Patrick Kelly was very proud of the freshman.
   "She had one tough inning," Kelly said. "She had five good innings. She's a freshman, and I think she's going to continue to improve. I was happy with her outing. Unfortunately we made a couple of mental errors that took us out of the game.
   Kelly thinks his young squad can correct the things that cause big innings.
   "It's just to stay focused, and to keep going in the game," Kelly said. "These are corrections that we can make. These aren't ability mistakes, these are mental mistakes. These are things that with a little more work we can improve on.
   Happy Valley received an excellent outing on the mound from Kortney Goulds. The sophomore gave up three hits in five innings of work.
   Christy Shell came into pitch the sixth for the Lady Warriors, and didn't give up a hit in the frame.
   Goulds gave up a run in the top of the first, but settled down after that.
   "I just finally got into my groove, and started throwing a little bit." Goulds said.
   Goulds is coming off a knee injury she suffered during basketball season, but Killen believes she is starting to click.
   "She's still getting back to where she came from," Killen said. "I'm trying to get her a little bit of confidence in there. If she has confidence in her defense, she can just relax and throw the ball. It's a slow process, but she's gaining her way really well."
   Kate Powell and Mandy Byrd topped Happy Valley with three hits on the afternoon. Chambers led the Lady Bulldogs with two hits.
   Happy Valley has played a lot of Class AAA teams, and Killen thinks the Lady Warriors are starting to reap the benefits of the brutal schedule.
   "It does nothing but help you," Killen said. "We play on a higher level of competition. Win or lose, record is not very important. It's getting the girls the experience of playing against those good teams to make them better when the time counts."
   The Lady Bulldogs are trying to cope with the program's move up to Class AA. They moved up with a young squad, but Kelly thinks his team is making progress.
   "We got moved up, so it's a learning year for us," Kelly said. "We're seeing what our competition is up here. And we'll just continue to make improvements. We've improved over the year, and we'll just continue to do so."