The Winder-Barrow High School softball team made its 2014 debut Monday and used a five-run sixth inning to take an 8-4 win against visiting Jefferson.
WBHS (1-0) had fallen behind 4-3 after the top of the sixth, but answered with five runs, keyed by a three-run homer from JK Sullivan.
The visiting Lady Dragons went quietly in the top of the seventh as Alexis Berry picked up the win pitching in relief for the Lady Bulldoggs.
The win — and the way it was obtained — was a positive sign for WBHS coach Monty McClure, whose team is young with several underclassmen in the starting lineup for 2014.
“We made one pitching mistake and they have some good hitters,” McClure said. “We hit several line drives offensively which could have landed in. We ran the bases well and overall I was pleased with how we performed.”
Cathleen Nugue earned the start for the Lady Bulldoggs and held Jefferson scoreless through the first four innings. She began pitching the top of the fifth when the Lady Dragons put runners on first and third with no outs. After a pitching change, Olivia Husted drilled a three-run homer for Jefferson.
Berry would eventually take the win for WBHS, however, limiting the Lady Dragons to one run in the next two innings.
“Cathleen got a little tired,” McClure said. “She wanted to keep pitching, but it was the first game with some tough humidity. We have a lot of faith in Alexis as well.”
The Lady Bulldoggs put the first two runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning. T.K. Sauls had a one-out double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Mackenzie McFarland then tripled Sauls home for a 1-0 lead. Sauls would later cross home plate on a wild pitch.
McClure’s team added one run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single from Nugue.
After Jefferson took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning, the host Lady Bulldoggs started the bottom of the inning with a single from Krista Thomason. McFarland reached on an error allowing Thomason to score and tie the game.
An infield hit by Megan Garrett put WBHS back in front and then Sullivan’s homer sealed the deal.
“It was a good first game,” McClure said. “We wanted to come out and see how we did with our young lineup. It wasn’t perfect, but anytime you win it’s a good day.”
Carlee Thurmond finished 2-for-3 with a walk while Ansley Johnson and Sauls were both 1-for-3. Johnson drew a walk while Sauls had a double and a run scored.
Emily Ferguson had a watchful eye at the plate, drawing three walks Monday.
WBHS will have several games in the next few days. The Lady Bulldoggs were set to play Mountain View and Dacula today (Wednesday) in games played at Flowery Branch.
McClure’s team will then play First Presbyterian Friday at 7 p.m., also at Flowery Branch. The Lady Bulldoggs will then face Collins Hill and North Gwinnett Saturday in contests at North Gwinnett.
“One of the reasons we wanted to play in this tournament is because we are so young,” McClure said. “It will be good for us.”