The Paper photo by Lori Poteet 
Cayla Woodcox had three hits in Southmont’s double-header. She went 2-for-2 in the first game.
The Paper photo by Lori Poteet
Cayla Woodcox had three hits in Southmont’s double-header. She went 2-for-2 in the first game.

NEW MARKET – The skies cleared Friday. That was time enough for Southmont and Western Boone to settle their Sagamore Athletic Conference showdowns in a single twilight double-header. Ultimately, the Mounties stormed away with two wins, and the edge in the conference standings. Southmont won game one 8-3, then ran away with the nightcap 14-4 in six innings.

The wins move the Mounties to 10-3 on the season, and 6-1 in the conference. Western Boon falls to 7-5, and evens their Sagamore Athletic Conference mark at 4-4.

Southmont's Paige Knowling scattered four hits in the opener, then relied on the support from the Mounties' bats in the second to claim two victories over Western Boone right-hander Olivia Hole, who was saddled with both losses.

Knowling was masterful on the hill, and when the Stars did pose a threat, the Mountie's defense got her safely out of trouble.

“The first game, our goal was to have an error-free defensive game,” said Mounties head coach Jennifer Watson, “and we were strong defensively in both games, actually. Defense in the first game pretty much set the tone for the way this night was going to go. In order to win, it was going to start with defense.”

Southmont jumped out to a 4-0 lead on three hits, and the first of Stazia Mikalik's two first game RBI. On the night, Mikalik had six RBI, and was a key ball striker all night for the Mounties.

“Part of the reason that she is where she is in the lineup, is because she can hit the ball, and can bring in runs, plain and simple.” said Watson.

It looked as if the Stars were right back in the game in the second inning, when Briley Burns drove home two Stars with a 2 RBI single to right. However, Southmont recorded their second four run inning in the fourth, which gave Knowling all the confidence she needed on the mound.

“We had two hard hit grounders right at players, after that, and the rest of the game she popped us up.” lamented Stars head coach Mike Vanderpool.

In both contests, Southmont's all around play gave them the edge, and Vanderpool was impressed by their toughness.

“But I give credit to them,” said the Stars' mentor. “They came to play and play hard. They were mentally tougher than we were tonight, and physically tougher. But I do think we adjusted a little better in the second game.”

Indeed, the Stars jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on Heather Clark's one out single. But the Mounties seemed to regain their focus following what appeared to be a serious injury to Southmont infielder Veda Emerson, who took a line drive directly to the face. Remarkably, she returned to the line-up, and contributed two RBI.

“Veda's main concern about getting hit like that was she was afraid she was going to have to come out of the game,” reported Watson. “It is hard to put into words, but she has so much heart and dedication, and competitiveness and drive.”

When the game resumed, the Mounties exploded at the plate, touching Stars' pitching for two five run innings.

“My pitchers just didn't hit their spots tonight,” said Vanderpool. “Tonight, they deserved to beat us.”

While Vanderpool was obviously disappointed in his team's performance, Watson was impressed by her team's resilience.

“We have a whole lot of heart out here.”