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Hebron softball goes 3-1 to start the season

July 31, 2011

Hebron Christian School kicked off the 2011 season with a loss, but quickly got their first game jitters out of the way this past weekend after going 3-1 in the season-opening tournament in Senatobia.

After losing to host Magnolia Heights 5-4, the Lady Eagles rebounded with a 9-0 win over Kirk Academy Friday, followed by a pair of victories over North Delta and Lee Academy (Ark.).

"I think some first game nerves got to us a little and gave them a few runs but I thought we did OK for our first game as a young team," head coach Cass Tapley said.

Hebron and Magnolia Heights combined for three hits on the day, but the biggest difference was the errors; the Lady Eagles committed three.

Alaina Hill gave Hebron a 1-0 lead in the first before Holly Hudson doubled their score in the second. Hill and Chloe Tapley gave the visitors a 4-2 advantage in the third inning, but time had run out in the bottom half as MHS rallied for three runs before the game was called.

Rebecca Joy Faulkner and Chloe Tapley had the only two hits for Hebron while Tori Nichols and Brooke Griffin each knocked home a run. Chloe Tapley took the loss in four innings of work and striking out six batters.

The Lady Eagles scored seven runs combined in the first two innings against Kirk before they added a pair in the fourth to pick up the shutout on Friday. Cass Tapley said after that performance, it was clear the girls had calmed down.

"I think it just got too hot for us to be nervous any longer and we played better in the field," he said. "Our hitting was a little limited as we didn't see a lot of strikes early on. It was a nice game and once we got comfortable we were able to get everyone in the game. "

The Lady Eagles slapped five hits in the win led by Hudson who finished 2-for-2 with a run scored. Beverly Blake, Chloe Tapley and Faulkner also notched a hit. Chloe Tapley struck out nine and gave up just two hits for her first win on the year.

After going 1-1 on Friday, the Lady Eagles made a statement Saturday and did in fine fashion as Blake's walk-off inside the park homerun gave Hebron a 6-5 win over North Delta.

Down by a pair of runs and two outs with time expired and Faulkner on second, Blake's deep fly-ball over the center-fielder gave her plenty of time to round the bases.

"Though it is still very early in the season this was a statement game for this young team," Cass Tapley said. "They didn't play their best but they also didn't quit."

Hebron again jumped out to an early lead after scoring a pair in the first followed by another run in the third. But North Delta rallied in the bottom half of the third inning with four consecutive runs to take a one run lead.

Nichols, Hill and Blake each had a pair of hits to lead the team while Chloe Tapley struck out seven and gave up four hits in five innings of work.

Chloe Tapley proved why she's one of the best pitchers in the region as she struck out 17 batters in Hebron's 4-3 win over Lee Academy in eight innings to close out the weekend. She also did her part at the plate with a team-high three hits including the winning bunt single in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Lady Eagles their third consecutive win.

"I haven't got this team figured out yet but we can play a little bit and will battle," Cass Tapley said. "If we were ever going to quit it was going to happen Saturday when we were behind in the unrelenting heat."

Cass Tapley also said he was blown away by his seniors and really pleased with the effort some of the younger players had produced to start the season.

The Lady Eagles will be back in action on Tuesday when they host Marshall Academy starting at 5pm.

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