PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Lady Cardinals finished off Bishop McGuinness 15-0 in four innings.
On a cold day, the softball team got off the field early with a hitting onslaught.
Coach Derrick Hill noted out his team’s bats really woke up over the weekend at Starmount. That trend continued Tuesday as the Cards scored five in the first inning, six in the second and three in the third to go up 14-0.
One more run in the fourth gave the home team a 15-run lead and invoked the mercy rule.
Of particular note in this one was the triumphant return of Kelsey Wilson to the lineup.
The MVP of the 2011 state tournament had a shoulder injury during competitive cheerleading. Then when she was ready to return to action, Wilson suffered a fall and a concussion that made Tuesday her first game of the season.
Wilson had three really good at-bats, noted Hill. She worked the pitcher. When she got behind in the count, she fouled off a couple of balls until she got something she could drive.
All three at-bats produced rockets, he said. She had a single, two doubles and four RBIs.
After pitcher Lake Bowman put Bishop down in the first, Emily Cummings led off the bottom half with a walk.
Jessica Barker popped up to third, but the fielder dropped the ball. Cummings was on first and sprinted for second. The fielder got the ball and threw wildly past second and into right field.
Cummings came around to score, and Barker went to second.
Kristen Cummings followed with an RBI double over the shortstop’s head to make it 2-0.
Amber Lawson walked, and Kristen Cummings advanced to third on ball four to the backstop.
Lawson stole second base, then both came home on a two-run double down the left-field line. That made it 4-0.
After Laken Bowman walked, Brooke Bowman hit a ground ball through the left side for an RBI single.
After Laken Bowman again kept Bishop scoreless, the Cards posted six more runs in the second inning.
Olivia Sheets dropped a bunt and advanced to second on an error.
Jessica Barker singled to left, and the fielder misplayed the ball to allow Sheets to score. Barker went to second on the error.
Kristen Cummings singled to left, but Barker had to hold at third. Lawson singled in both runners with a hit to right. She took second on the throw.
Wilson then drove in Lawson with a liner past the second baseman.
Laken Bowman hit a triple into the gap in right-center to score Wilson.
Then Jesse Barr lifted a long fly ball to right to score Bowman.
In the third inning, Hill substituted Lauren Sechrist at second base, and Sechrist responded immediately with a double.
Hill said he was very proud of Sechrist for putting some new advice to work in the game.
“She has very quick hands and tries to yank everything,” he said. That gets her in trouble sometimes with the outside corner.
After working on that in batting practice, Sechrist hit a line drive into the gap in right-center.
Lawson followed with a single to right that the outfielder misplayed. The error allowed Sechrist to score from third and Lawson to go to second.
Wilson followed with another line drive to the outfield. The left fielder misplayed the hop to allow Lawson to score and Wilson to go to second.
Laken Bowman had a bloop single to score Wilson to make it 14-0.
“It’s hard to see from the way our girls were hitting the ball, but Bishop has improved,” said Hill. Yes, they made a few errors, but they also had some nice catches in the outfield.
One particular catch finished the third inning. Barr hit a long shot to right-center, and Laken Bowman took off from second. The center fielder made the catch and doubled off Bowman from second base.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Cards got their last run as Emily Cummings hit a long fly to left-center that fell between the outfielders.
Sarah Moore, another reserve coming through in the game, hit a single to move Cummings to third. Barker then hit a sacrifice fly to end the game.
“Everyone made a contribution today,” said Hill.
The Cards play Mount Airy today. Their first meeting was rained out, so the teams will play a double header starting at 5 p.m.