The Hixson Lady Wildcats finally put it all together Friday afternoon.
Facing the Red Bank Lionettes in the first game of their own Hixson Lady Wildcat March Madness Tournament, Hixson got some timely hits, pretty good pitching and exceptional defense for an 8-2 victory over the Lionettes.
Hixson, now 1-4 for the young season, only had five hits, but three went for extra bases and four of the five drove in runs.
"We finally finished a game," said an obviously happy Hixson coach Jayme Putman after the game was called by time limit after six innings.
"It feels really good to get that first win, but we played as a team and things are beginning to mesh. And I thought that Virginia Rivers played great defense at third base," Putman added.
Hixson took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first with Ciera Taylor's two-run double being the only hit of the inning. Charlie Jeffries had reached on a one-out walk while Jessica Green reached on the first of five Red Bank errors and both scooted home when Taylor's liner bounced off the fence in left-center.
The Lionettes tied the score in the second inning and they did it without the benefit of a hit.
Hixson starting pitcher Marissa Murray had a hard time finding the strike zone and walked five batters. Taylor Bonds and Hanna Land both scored on wild pitches to tie the score and Murray was replaced after issuing her fifth base on balls to reload the bases.
Jessica Green came in and retired the next two hitters without any further damage.
The heart of the Hixson lineup came through with flying colors in the third when the Lady Wildcats batted around and scored four runs to take command of the game.
Demi DeFoor reached on an error to lead things off while Jeffries reached on another Lionette miscue. Green then made Red Bank pay with a triple into the gap in left-center as DeFoor and Jeffries both scored to give Hixson a 4-2 lead.
Taylor then came through with her second double of the afternoon to plate Green before a single from Abigail Tipton sent Taylor home with the final run of the inning.
Two more Red Bank errors in the bottom of the fourth allowed Hixson to score its final two runs of the game.
Jeffries had a single to drive in the first and she later scored on a Lionette error.
Taylor was the only player for either team with two hits, but they were big ones as she finished with three runs batted in. Jeffries only had the one hit, but she reached base three times and scored every time.
Needless to say, Red Bank coach Mandi Munn was visibly upset with her team and their lack of execution.
"My mother once told me that if I don't have anything good to say, then I shouldn't say anything at all. I really don't have anything good to say. I just don't get it. We worked on nothing but base running yesterday, but we just ran ourselves out of innings today. And our defense was just non-existent.
"I'm sure that things will get better, but it can't get much worse right now," Munn concluded.
Green was the winning pitcher for the Lady Wildcats after allowing five hits and no walks of shutout relief for 3.2 innings. She finished with five strikeouts.
Allison Walker was the loser for Red Bank after allowing six runs on just three hits. She got through the first two innings, but was replaced after facing four hitters in the third.
Kendall Farr came in and pitched the final three innings.
Hixson was scheduled to play Silverdale in the final game of the evening on Friday while Red Bank, now 1-5, returns to action on Saturday morning with games against Bledsoe County at 9 a.m. before a contest with Silverdale at 12:30.
RED BANK 020 000 -- 2 5 6
HIXSON 204 20x -- 8 5 1
Walker, Farr (3) and Simpson; Murray, Green (2) and Keef.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)