By PATRICK CASEY
Walton freshman pitcher Laura Hydle recorded 12 strikeouts as the Braves took advantage of 10 Paxton errors to defeat the Bobcats 14-2 on a frigidly cold Friday night to salvage a win after dropping contests at Freeport and Rocky Bayou earlier in the week.
The contest was a nail-biter for the first four innings as the Braves held a slim 1-0 advantage on the road as Treasa Herndon’s sacrifice fly that plated Mara Morse accounted for the only scoring early in the game.
Walton tallied four runs in the top of the fifth inning as a pair of walks, two errors and consecutive singles by Kayla Chancey, Hydle and Kayla Jackson pushed the lead to 5-0.
Paxton answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning as Cassidy Brazile doubled in Genesis Long to trim the lead to 5-1 but the Braves responded with two runs of their own in the sixth inning before exploding for seven more in the top of the seventh.
Shyy Walker drove in three runs with an inside-the-park home run while Hydle added another single in the inning. Cristen Gillis, who entered the game in the fifth inning, reached base three times and singled in a run to help finish the onslaught.
Paxton deserved a better fate in the contest early on, leaving the bases loaded in both the third and fourth innings while failing to score a run. Brazile started the contest and recorded eight strikeouts in five innings of work with Long throwing the last two innings. The Bobcats, who were playing just their second game of the season in less than 28 hours, struggled in the field with a young group that was not aided by temperatures in the 40s.
Walton improved to 5-4 as they closed the week with a victory after losing to Freeport 6-5 and Rocky Bayou 6-2 on the road.
Freeport got a key double from Tessa Hendrix to plate four runs in the bottom of the second inning and also took advantage of three hit batters by Hydle during that frame to build a 4-0 lead on a cold and blustery night in Freeport.
Walton scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to cut the lead to 6-5 and had the tying run on third base with two outs only to have Morse pop out to Bulldogs pitcher Rani Simmons to end the game.
Freeport fell to 2-5 overall after losing at Samson 12-3 and in Northview 10-0 on Friday night.