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SWHS moves on to Day 2 play

Sweet Water jumped on Edward Bell early and scarcely let up Friday en route to a 19-0 win in the first round of the AHSAA Class 1A South Central Regional Tournament.

“They hit the ball alright,” SWHS head coach Pat Thompson said of his players, who have historically encountered problems against slower pitchers. “On slower pitching we always tend to be out front. We just have to be patient. For the most part, I thought the girls did really well (Friday). We did hit some balls well today.”

The Bulldogs’ production started with their first batter of the game when Tondalaya Dockery stroked a leadoff single. She later came around to score on a wild pitch to give SWHS the 1-0 lead. Her effort sparked a five-run Sweet Water inning that Deandrea Norwood, Melanie Curtis, Brianna McMillan and Latoya Williams cross home plate.

Sweet Water struck for seven more runs in the second inning, stretching its lead to 12-0. The big blow of the frame came off the bat of Breanna Black, who hit a two-run single to plate Williams and JaQuesia White.

Sweet Water added two more runs in the third inning when Williams stroked a two-run shot, stretching the lead out to 14-0. SWHS finished off its scoring in the fourth inning, plating five runs. Norwood had a two-RBI double in the frame, while Williams had a two-RBI single.

“She struggled early in the year, but she’s really come on here lately,” Thompson said of Williams, who went 3-for-3 with six RBIs in Friday’s opening-round game.

The offensive outburst backed up another stellar effort from pitcher Chelsea Luker, who threw four innings and allowed only two hits in the game.

“She did well. She threw strikes and that’s what we needed her to do,” Thompson said of Luker, who denied EBHS the ability to put together any semblance of an offensive threat. “That is crucial, avoiding the big inning. You want to always avoid the big inning. You give up the big inning and you dig yourself into a hole that’s hard to get out of, especially when you get to this time of year.”

The win allowed Sweet Water to take the remainder of Friday off as it advanced in the winner’s bracket.

“You never like to play back-to-back,” Thompson said following the win. “We’re now able to get some rest and come back ready to play (Saturday). We know that (Saturday) is going to be a big day.”

SWHS opens play today in the 8 a.m. time slot when it takes on Holy Spirit, who defeated Fayetteville 17-0 Friday in the first round of the double-elimination bracket.