Midland girls outhit Lincoln County, 13-3
WEST HAMLIN, W.Va. -- After suffering its first loss of the year to Lincoln County last weekend, Cabell Midland's softball team didn't have to wait long to get another crack at the Panthers.
And the Knights responded in strong fashion Wednesday with each crack of the bat.
Cabell Midland pounded out 14 hits and used a grand slam by Jenny Brumfield in the second inning to break the game open in a 13-3 mercy-rule shortened win over Lincoln County in a battle of two of Class AAA's top teams.
"The girls felt like they had to prove something to themselves after having a few errors the first time we played them," Cabell Midland coach Jeanne Lunsford said.
Brumfield finished a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate, falling just a triple shy of the cycle while also providing the game's biggest at-bat.
The Knights had jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but Lincoln County pitcher Faith Huffman was one strike away from getting out of a bases-loaded jam and minimizing the damage.
Brumfield fouled off three consecutive pitches to keep the count 1-2 before taking a ball to even the count. On the next pitch, she exploded through the softball, and it soared over the scoreboard in center field for her second grand slam of the season.
"I was just thinking if it's in there, I have to hit it and do something to help my team," Brumfield said. "I just did what I could."
Brumfield, who bats sixth in Cabell Midland's lineup, provides a power bat in that spot and helps to keep innings going for the Knights when the heart of the order gets on base.
Each time to the plate on Wednesday, Brumfield stepped up with runners in scoring position and delivered. She finished the game with a double, home run and six RBIs.
"Jenny's surprisingly strong and when she stays focused and on the ball, she's a very productive player," Lunsford said. "That's what put us over the top and it's her second grand slam. She's in a pretty good position and we'll probably keep her there."
Part of Brumfield's resurgence hinged on the top of the lineup, which produced mightily for Cabell Midland (7-1).
Each of the top three hitters in the lineup -- Morgan Zerkle, Mandi King and Jordan Colliflower -- collected three hits while cleanup hitter Morgan Kelley had a pair of doubles, reached on an error and drove in two.
Lincoln County shortstop Sarah Barrett robbed Kelley of another pair of RBIs when she climbed the ladder to snag a lined shot off Kelley's bat that was headed for the gap.
While Barrett's play saved runs, the Panthers had a pair of crucial errors that enabled Cabell Midland to jump out to the big lead.
The Knights' six-run second inning started with a dropped fly ball in center field and was also aided following an error on a sharply hit ground ball to third by Kelley. Two batters later, Brumfield blasted the towering grand slam.
"If we make plays we normally make, that at-bat never happens," Lincoln County coach Rod Hoover said. "it definitely changed the game."
Lincoln County (8-3) also put the ball in play consistently, but the Knights' defense helped to avert danger -- a stark contrast to the loss on Saturday against the Panthers when Lunsford said the team made several uncharacteristic defensive miscues.
After scoring a run to cut the deficit to 3-1, the Panthers loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning, but Erin Kaplan snagged a line drive by Sarah Pennington at shortstop then tagged out Lincoln County's Amy Parsons for an inning-ending double play. Kaplan also leapt to grab another liner in the fourth inning.
Pennington fell victim to a great defensive play in the third inning with runners in scoring position when Zerkle managed to get her glove on a ball and recompose herself to throw out Pennington. Brumfield immediately followed with a running catch of a sinking liner to end the threat unscathed after Lincoln County had runners on second and third with no outs.
"Defensively, we were much more like the team that we are used to being," Lunsford said.
Barrett finished 3-for-3 with a triple for Lincoln County while Brooke West was 2-for-3 with an RBI infield single. Megan Tully added a home run over the left field fence.
CABELL MIDLAND 360 22 -- 13 14 1
LINCOLN COUNTY 110 10 -- 3 8 3
Marsh, Tolbert (5) and Koontz. Huffman and Isaacs.
Hitting: (CM) Zerkle 3-4, 3B; King 3-3, 2 RBIs; Colliflower 3-3, 3 RBIs; Kelley 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBIs; Brumfield 3-3, 2B, HR, 6 RBIs. (LC) Barrett 3-3, 3B; West 2-3, RBI; Tully HR, RBI.