By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – Kimber Neal hit her first home run of the season, Emery Stanush allowed two runs in four innings and Tierrah Williams tossed three scoreless and No. 1 Atascocita defeated Summer Creek 6-2 on Tuesday at Summer Creek High School.
“Our at-bats were a lot better,” Atascocita coach Ashley Boyd said. “We had a lot of line drive outs. They were playing us really deep and we were still making outfielders work out there. That was the big thing, I think we had key hits with people in scoring position. That really just broke it open for us.”
The Eagles (12-1, 3-1 in District 21-6A play) after taking a 12-1 beating from rival Kingwood to open district play have dished out some big wins since.
Entering Tuesday, Atascocita, winners of two-straight, 10-0 against Channelview and 2-0 versus North Shore on Monday, continued its winning trend.
Trailing 1-0 early, Neal took a 3-2 pitch from Summer Creek starter Dani Moreno and crushed it over the left field fence. The long ball was the first of the season for the senior.
After taking the lead in the third inning on a wild pitch, Atascocita tacked on runs in the fourth and fifth innings off an RBI single from Lauren Bazan and a sacrifice fly from Williams, pushing the lead to 4-1.
Williams leads the team with 22 RBIs, while Bazan recorded her first.
Summer Creek (12-9, 0-3) made a charge in the fifth. Taylor Parker, who led off the inning with a double, touched home on an RBI single by Monroe, pulling the Bulldogs within two.
Surrendering a walk to the very next batter ended Stanush’s day. The sophomore finished giving up two runs on five hits, struck out three and walked two in four innings.
“She did awesome,” Boyd said. “The good thing with her is she tends to keep the ball down in the zone. It really makes people earn their way. She did a lot of the same. She’s done a great job for us whenever she’s been given opportunities.”
With runners on second and third, no outs and only a two-run lead, Boyd turned to her ace.
Williams, who was fresh off a one-hit shutout performance against North Shore, came in and slammed the door.
The University of Houston signee set down the side in the fifth, struck out five of the first seven batters she faced en rout to an eventual six-strikeout, three inning scoerless performance.
“She’s a workhorse,” Boyd said. “I feel like we could give her the ball every inning of every game and she’d be ready to go. She knows her role. Today I was trying to give her a rest and try to get her bat going again. We needed her to come in for us there. She’s just there to do her job and whatever we need her to do to help us win ball games is what she’s going to do.”
In Williams’ last two outings, totaling up 10 innings, the senior has struck out 18, walked two, given up one run and one hit in that span. Williams has 102 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings this season compared to 14 walks.
Atascocita stretched its lead in the sixth as an error by Summer Creek left fielder Dali Alanis allowed Brittney Stafford and Bazan to score, making it 6-2, which would be the final.
Moreno finished giving up six runs, four earned, on eight hits, striking out one and walking none in a complete game effort.
Atascocita has a week off before returning to the diamond on Tuesday to face Baytown Sterling at home.
“We all need a break from the game at this point,” Boyd said of getting some time off. “They’re teenage girls, they need a break from each other and just kind of a reset in the middle of the season, which I think is good. Aches and pains will go away and we’ll be able to move on from there.”
First pitch for the Sterling game is 6 p.m. Summer Creek travels to Kingwood on Tuesday still seeking its first District 21-6A win of the year.