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Hornets crush Poets 13-2

Dallas County used two big innings to pound its way to a 13-2 win over a Sidney Lanier team that opened its season in Plantersville on Tuesday.

The Hornets ran the base paths at will, got timely hits and took advantage of several Poet errors to build an 11-1 lead after two innings.

“We started out shaky,” said Sydney Lanier coach Shirley Dolman. “It was first-game jitters. They’ve got more experience than we do. We’ve got mostly players that have not played.”

Despite the quick start that resulted in the enforcement of the mercy rule, Hornet coaches were hoping to see a better overall performance.

“We are a lot better team than what we showed today,” said Dallas County coach Ed Miller. “We didn’t play with our heads in the game. We didn’t play with a lot of speed and intensity.”

The Hornets built on a 4-1 lead with a seven-run second inning.

McKinsey Crawford reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second and third before scoring on a passed ball. Ciera Ingram followed with a double to left center field that scored Kimberly Ross, and Ilicia Stewart scored in her stead on a Kenesha Jefferson single.

From there, Dallas County continued to pile on. Daniels doubled to bring in Jefferson, and Shayla Griffin, who ran for Daniels, touched the plate on a passed ball. Whitney Denson made it a 10-run game with a double down the left field line that scored Debra Cunningham and Rodnesha Vinson.

“We hit the ball really good,” said Miller. “Hitting is our biggest strength.”

Amber Scott reached after being hit by a Daniels pitch to lead off the fourth. She later scored on a passed ball to give Sidney Lanier a chance to extend the game.

But Dallas County extinguished the Poets’ hopes by again taking advantage of walks. Two free passes from Haley Plato to Ross and Ingram led to the deciding runs.

Though the game got out of hand early with the Hornets’ second-inning onslaught, the Poet pitching kept the Hornets off balance early.

Two weeks removed from a tournament in Troy where Hornet batters faced 60 mph pitches, their Sidney Lanier fooled them early with a variety of slower pitches.

Dallas County built its 4-0 first inning lead on two walks and a bases loaded hit batter that pushed the fourth run across.