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By Jim Clark
A much-needed district victory came along rather easily last week for the Williston softball team, which crunched Newberry, 10-0, in six innings at home.
With a first-round bye in the district tournament likely, the girls needed this win to assure themselves of one less game in their quest for a district championship.
Laurrin Howard pitched a four-hitter, depending a lot on her teammates to play good defense behind her, which they did. She threw only 63 pitches in the six innings, including only 22 in the first three frames as her team played flawless defense except for one minor miscue.
Offensively, the Devils wasted no time showing their superiority over the visiting Panthers. Crissy Rawls singles to start the bottom of the first, stole second, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
After two were out, Heather Porter singled to left and took second when Dayna Hunn singled in the same spot. Mandi Lee crunched one over the right-fielders head for a triple that drove in two runs, and Kayla Thorrington followed with another triple, this time driving in Lee, and it was 4-0 in the first inning.
In the second Rawls singled, stole second and moved up on a throwing error, but was left stranded.
Another run scored in the third when Porter was safe on one of the Newberry shortstops five errors, took third as Lee singled to right and scored on a sacrifice fly by Thorrington, which was dropped by the center-fielder.
Things really fell apart for the Panther infield in the fourth and the opportunistic Devils took advantage of every miscue. Newberry had five errors in the inning, including four by the shortstop, as the Devils got singles by Margaret Brown and Porter for the only hits of the inning as they scored four times. Lee had a sacrifice fly to drive in a run and Porters hit drove in another. Now it was 9-0, and the Devils ended it with the 10th run in the sixth. Porter smashed a single off the third-basemans leg, took second when Hunns fly was dropped in center, moved to third on a wild pitch, and coasted home on Lees third hit of the game to end the contest.
Williston competes in a three-day tournament this weekend in Kissimmee, opening tonight (Thursday) at 8 p.m. against Tallahassee Chiles. If the Devils win they play at 5:30 p.m. Friday; if they lose the first game they play at 2 p.m. Friday.