Practice paid off for the Black Beauties in a 21-8 Jhawk Softball victory over the Smurfs on June 22 at Youth Sports Inc.
"They showed what they learned in practice this week," Black Beauties coach Phil Wilke said. "We really worked on our infield play, and I saw the girls working together to get the lead runner."
Emma Kloster and Lexi Griffoph struck out in the top of the first before Lauren Nus came to the plate and knocked a double to right field. A throw from Black Beauties pitcher Rachel Schaffer to first base recorded the third out of the inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, Sara Scott led off with a double and later scored the first run of the game for the Black Beauties. Meagan Fleming, Alex Scott and Lauren Fleming each recorded an RBI and gave the Black Beauties a 3-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
The Smurfs tied up the game in the second, which started with a double from Sarah Smith. Kelly Phipps knocked home Smith on an RBI triple. Haley Nus added the third run of the inning on an RBI double to left field from Kloster.
Midway through the second inning the game was knotted at 3-all, but the score was not tied for long as the Black Beauties broke the deadlock in the bottom of the frame.
Blair Evert got the bats going for the Black Beauties with a single in the bottom of the second. Meagan Fleming brought in two runs on her double to right field.
Meagan, Alex Scott and Schaffer all scored, and the Black Beauties reached their five-run-per-inning limit.
With the Smurfs in a hole starting the third, they responded by starting off with a leadoff single from Leah Murata.
Phipps knocked home two runs on a double to centerfield. Kloster drove home Haley Nus for the fifth run of the inning, and an RBI double tied the game at 8-all.
The Black Beauties would take the game over from there on the strength of their bats and solid infield play, outscoring the Smurfs 13-0 for the rest of the game.
Ally Wilke's hit to deep centerfield in the bottom of the third scored three runs, and the bats of Scott and Meagan Fleming added five runs for the Black Beauties, who took the lead, 13-8, after three innings of play.
The infield was solid for the Black Beauties, as the players tagged Griffoph out at second and picked off Murata and Smith at second.
In the bottom of the fourth the Black Beauties extended their lead by five runs off a triple by Schaffer and an in-the-park home run from Wilke.
Phipps gave the Smurfs an opportunity to edge back into the game with a lead-off single in the top of the fifth. Haley Nus' double to leftfield scored Phipps, but solid pitching and a great play by Meagan Fleming ended the inning and the Smurfs' hopes of a win.
The Black Beauties closed out the game with four more runs in the bottom of the fifth with RBIs from Alex Scott and Schaffer. Kloster ended the inning and the game with a great catch at first for the third out of the inning.
A dominant effort in the field and at the plate secured the win for the Black Beauties.
"Girls played well," Wilke said. "They made a lot of progress during the game, and I could definitely see the infield practice we did last week in action."
Smurfs coach Bob Hughes said it was a great game. He saw some things the team will be focusing on in practice this week.
"We need to work on fielding the ball," Hughes said. "There were not many plays that we solidly made in our fielding."
Coach Wilke praised his team for the win but said he knew the next game would be a new challenge and practice makes perfect.
"We need to learn to relay throws better from the outfield," Wilke said. "Having fun is the most important thing, and as long as they get along with each other and continue to improve their skills then the season will be a success. I am proud to be their coach."