Stellar pitching and a high-powered offense excelled for the Dripping Springs Tigers April 26 as they dismantled the Austin LBJ Jaguars 19-0 in a one-game bi-district playoff.
A big part of the Tigers’ victory was a combined no hitter from junior pitchers Logan Hulon and Kendall Womack, as well as a combined 17 runs scored in the first two innings by the Dripping Springs lineup.
“We just wanted to hit our pitches,” Dripping Springs head coach Wade Womack said about the offensive explosion in the first and second innings. “We chased a couple bad pitches, but you know for the most part the girls did a good job putting the ball in play.”
Junior second baseman Camille Corona got things going in the bottom of the first inning for the Tigers as she stole two bases, including stealing home after a wild pitch to get the first run on the board. Junior catcher Bailey Hudgeons followed that up with a bases clearing triple off the right field wall, a foot away from a grand slam, to put Dripping Springs up 4-0.
“Bailey has been a big hitter for us all year,” said Womack. “The past couple of games she struggled a little bit. It was good to see her come back. You know when she is on she is hitting it to right-center to right (field). It was good for her, she got on third with a big smile on her face and goes ‘Coach, I think I’m back’.”
After going through the entire lineup in the bottom of the first, Corona came back up to bat and launched the ball into the gap in center field. Corona used her elite speed to round the bases and ended up with a two RBI inside-the-park home run.
“My previous at bat I didn’t swing at some good pitches, and I was reminded of that so I just wanted to focus on just staying back and seeing the ball and swinging at better pitches.” Corona said about her inside-the-park home run.
Womack praised Corona’s speed as a factor for being able to achieve the inside-the-park home run, as well as being able to hit for more power this season.
“Well you know she’s fast,” Womack said. “This year she doesn’t have quite as many stolen bases because her power numbers are up. You know last year she had 57 stolen bases, this year she is at 21 or 22, but you know its cause she is able to do things like that.”
Dripping Springs capped the first inning by scoring eight runs. The Tigers didn’t stop there as they scored nine additional runs in the bottom of the second inning. Corona continued her huge night with a two-RBI double, giving her four RBIs for the game. Senior shortstop Riley Dunn went 3 for 4 on the night, including a triple to centerfield in the second inning to put another run on the board. Senior outfielder Dannielle Northrup joined the party with a monster triple off the center field wall that drove in two more runs and extended the Tiger lead to 17-0 by the end of the inning.
“You know Dannie is a strong kid,” Womack said. “She’s been a good hitter for us all four years that she’s been starting for us. That’s why she is going to Campbell University.”
While the offense was on fire to start the game, so was Hulon and her pitching. She did not look out of place making her first start in a playoff game, where she recorded eight strikeouts and a no hitter through three innings pitched.
“Since it is my first playoff game I was a little jittery at first, had some butterflies,” Hulon said. “But, I knew I had to be calm, cool and collected to be able to win as a team and with my team. I guess it all worked out pretty well.”
Hulon was relieved by Womack in the top of the fourth inning with the no hitter intact. Womack was able to keep the no hitter alive as she recorded five strikeouts over the two innings pitched. Hulon’s and Womack’s combined no hitter featured 13 total strikeouts over the five innings played.
Dripping Springs will look to carry this momentum into the second round of the playoffs as it plays Richmond Foster in a best-of-3 series beginning Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Weimar High. Game two begins Friday at 5 p.m., with an if-necessary third game to start 30 minutes after.
“They’re going to be ready for us,” said Womack. “You know we knocked them out to go to state and they want nothing more than to knock us out. Hopefully our girls will come ready, focused and a good week of practice and we make a good series out of it.”