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Burks hurls 4-hitter; Loyd Star roars past West Lincoln’s girls

Loyd Star pitcher Caroline Burks overcame a rain-soaked, muddymound and hurled the Lady Hornets to an 11-3 Wednesday victory overthe host West Lincoln girls in a Division 7-1A/2A fastpitchsoftball showdown. Burks, a 5-foot-3, junior right-hander, pitcheda 4-hitter, striking out 8 batters and hitting 1 in a steady,misting rain.

“I’m used to playing in the mud,” said Burks. “When it startedraining pretty hard, I had a little trouble.”

Burks wears a face mask when she’s on the mound. Last year, ahard line drive had fractured her forehead in a game against BogueChitto. The injury required surgery and metal plates were placed inher forehead.

“My fastball and curve were working pretty good,” said Burks.,”My teammates helped a lot,” contributing 12 hits to thetriumph.

“Caroline did a good job, considering the conditions,” said LoydStar coach Jan Delaughter. “It was hard to play on slick grass. Itwas like ice.

“Our girls did a good job hitting the ball,” Delaughter noted.”This was a big win for us.”

Loyd Star raised its division-leading record to 7-1 and climbedto 12-5 overall. West Lincoln, slowed by rainouts and an extendedbasketball season, fell to 3-2 in division play and 3-3overall.

West Lincoln coach Andrew Redd said his team played well untilthe fifth inning when Loyd Star erupted for 5 runs and broke a 2-2deadlock. A bases-loaded triple by Annie Smith gave the LadyHornets a 6-2 lead.

“We looked real good until the fifth inning,” said Redd. “LoydStar started hitting and we fell apart.”

Redd said his pitcher, Heather Huff, may have suffered a pulledleg muscle. “Heather started to struggle with locating herpitches.”

Huff (3-3), a sophomore, struck out 4 batters, walked 1 and hit1.

Loyd Star broke a 1-1 knot in the top of the fourth. Haley Sonessmacked an RBI double to left field, scoring Brittany Beeson whohad singled.

West Lincoln answered in the bottom of the fourth. Lauren Smithwas safe on a fielding error. She stole second base. Britnee Smithwas safe on a throwing error and Lauren Smith scored the tying run,making it 2-2.

In the fifth, Loyd Star’s Calleye Douglas led off with a tripleto left-center field. Amber Restivo provided an RBI single and theLady Hornets led 3-2. After Ariel Hunsucker was hit by a pitch,Abby Delaughter bunted and reached first base on a fielder’s choiceto load the bases.

Annie Smith followed with the base-clearing triple. A sacrificefly by Brittany Beeson made it 7-2.

The Lady Bears scored their third run in the sixth. Lauren Smithsingled to right and later scored on a high throw to firstbase.

Loyd Star crushed any comeback hopes with a 4-run seventh. AfterHunsucker walked and Delaughter singled, Annie Smith hit a 2-rundouble to center for a 9-3 lead. Beeson hit an RBI double to centerand Sones drove an RBI single up the middle

Annie Smith, working at first base on defense, collected 2extra-base hits in the victory. Beeson, playing third base, doubledtwice and singled.

West Lincoln got 2 singles from Lauren Smith and HolliSmith.