Hickman’s Stefani Worley called her pitching performance against Smith-Cotton on Wednesday her worst of the season. Fortunately for the Kewpies, her worst was still good enough to win.
“(My) pitching was weaker than usual,” she said. “We’re going to have those. My offense really came through for me today.”
Worley pitched all six innings in Hickman’s 13-3 victory shortened by the 10-run rule. Her struggles didn’t begin until the sixth. She gave up no hits through the first five innings.
“I think she pitched well,” Hickman coach Courtney Diehl said. “I think she mentally struggled a little bit when they did start hitting her.”
By the time Smith-Cotton figured out Worley’s fast-pace pitching style, Hickman had scored eight runs.
Freshman Shana White got Hickman’s offense going early, leading off the first with a triple. She reached base safely in four of her five plate appearances.
Worley said she wanted to see White hit a home run, but Smith-Cotton walked White her final time up. Worley, though, didn’t blame the Tigers for pitching around White.
“I understand.” she said. “I would have done the same. That girl can hit.”
Diehl said White’s contributions go beyond batting.
“You can’t praise her enough,” Diehl said. “Yeah she’s young, but she’s played a lot of games. She’s got the speed in the outfield, and most of the time she gets on base, which is what you want your leadoff hitter to do.”
Diehl was quick to mention another important freshman on her team. Jennifer Bieberly started at first base, went three-for-four and scored three runs batting cleanup.
Bieberly, White and Worley, who is a sophomore, give Diehl an impressive nucleus of young players.
“We have a young team,” Diehl said. “The future is very bright, not to take anything away from our juniors and seniors. Right now, we’re concentrating on here and now.”