ANDERSON — Sometimes it isn’t a matter of who you play, but when you play them.
Now may not be the time to play softball with the Anderson Indians.
Kalin Hubble homered and drove in six runs, Aly Milburn hit a grand slam, and Shelby Wright continued her recent run of success in the circle as Anderson pounded Liberty Christian with 20 hits in a 22-1 win Friday night in a game shortened to five innings by run rule.
For Anderson (5-4) it was a fifth consecutive win following an 0-4 start while the Lions dropped their second straight in falling to 8-5 on the season.
“It took us a few games and we were really just playing catch-up,” Anderson coach Mike Lee said. “Because of our diamond (and the weather), we were just not able to get on it. The team is playing the way I anticipated that they would play now.”
Anderson scored single runs on a first-inning RBI double by Emma Kelley and a second-inning sacrifice bunt from Savanah Coon for a 2-0 lead.
In what would be the only threat Wright would face on the day, the Lions scored a run in the bottom of the second on a single to left by Mackenzie Reasoner, which also loaded the bases. But Wright induced LC’s top hitter, Alayna Thomas, to ground out to end the inning.
That out would start a string of nine straight batters Wright would retire. A fifth-inning single by Thomas was the only other baserunner she would allow while she struck out seven. Wright has now allowed just three earned runs in her last 22 innings pitched.
“We got a late start on the season and it’s a really different feeling pitching on a field instead of in a gym,” Wright said. “Our defense is playing and it’s finally clicked and I feel like I’m dialed in to where I need to be.”
The Tribe took control by scoring five times in the top of the third. After a leadoff single by Kerrigan Huffman, Hubble launched the next pitch over the left field fence for a two-run home run. Sierra Cunningham followed with a double off the fence and scored on an error. An RBI single by Jalin Smith and a run-scoring grounder by Ally Partlow capped the inning.
After Huffman doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, the Tribe exploded for 14 runs in the fifth to break open an otherwise competitively played game. Hubble drove in four runs during the inning with a single and a double, Coon drove in two more with a single, and Milburn capped the inning with a grand slam.
Eight different Indians drove in runs and all nine starters scored at least once. Lee was glad to see production from all parts of the order, including 6 through 9 batters Milburn, Partlow, Coon, and Wright, who drove in a combined nine runs.
“That’s what we saw yesterday too, the production from the bottom of the order,” Lee said. “And Kalin, that’s just Kalin. That’s why she’s headed to play in college, Cunningham too. And Shelby just committed this week. They’re just ballplayers.”
Anderson will face top-five ranked Yorktown Monday on the road.