By Maurice Patton
SPRING HILL – Rarely is a pitcher as dejected after throwing a no-hitter as Kat Carter was Thursday.
“It’s so frustrating,” said the Spring Hill senior, who struck out 13 – but was victimized by four Lady Raider errors in a 2-0 loss to visiting District 11-AAA rival Summit.
“I couldn’t ask for a better game from Kat,” echoed first-year Spring Hill coach Angelina Martinez after her team fell to 5-9 (2-4). “But it’s not a one-man sport. You’ve got to pick up your pitcher.”
In a matchup of college-bound pitchers, Carter – a Jacksonville State signee – kept her team in position to win. However, North Alabama recruit Elena Escobar struck out 14, limited the hosts to four hits and managed to strand all four.
“We were struggling with our hitting, but we found a way to push through and get the runs we needed to win,” Escobar said. “That was a plus. We just stayed positive and kept scrapping for runs.
“I definitely didn’t have my best ‘stuff’, but I worked on my location, hitting my spots.”
Escobar was challenged from the start, as D’Naijah Wade singled to lead off the bottom of the first. But after moving around on a sacrifice and a wild pitch, Wade watched as Escobar got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
Two innings later, Stephanie Williams reached on a one-out infield base hit. Wade, who has signed with Alabama A&M, bunted her up, but Carter grounded out.
Callie Tuck added a fourth-inning single and Gracie Boehms followed suit in the fifth, but neither advanced.
Summit (13-5, 7-2), meanwhile, parlayed a walk to Dixie Corbin and a throwing error into a second-inning run before adding insurance in the seventh as Morgan Woodside reached on an error and scored on another.
“That was ugly, but we’ll take a win,” Lady Spartans coach Jenny Stevenson said. “Obviously we didn’t hit well, but we do a good job of keeping our composure and finding a way to win.
“It was definitely a pitchers’ duel kind of night.”
And while it was a better performance for Spring Hill than the 11-0 loss in the March 18 season opener, that wasn’t of much comfort.
“It’s an improvement from the first time we played,” Carter said. “We’ve improved as a whole team, in general.
“I’m always looking to improve. I went 0-for-3; I could have done my job at the plate.”
The improvement didn’t show up in the win column Thursday, but Martinez is encouraged in the longer term.
“I think we’re on an upward trend,” she said. “I think we’re going to be a team that’s hard to beat at tournament time.”
Both teams resume District 11-AAA play Monday, with Spring Hill traveling to Independence and Summit hosting Franklin.
Summit 2, Spring Hill 0
Sm 010 000 1 – 2 0 0
SH 000 000 0 – 0 4 4
Elena Escobar and Dixie Corbin. Kat Carter and Callie Tuck. W: Escobar. L: Carter.
Photos by Ric Beu / SM-Tn Sports