With the Houston Lady Tigers trailing 5-1, coach Willy Walker huddled his players and offered a challenge.
“I just asked them, ‘Who wants to win more? Do they want to win more or do you guys want to win more?'” Walker said.
Apparently the Lady Tigers wanted another victory.
Houston scored nine of the game’s final 10 runs Tuesday and defeated visiting Salem 10-6.
It was the fifth straight victory for the Lady Tigers, who haven’t lost since dropping the season opener at Strafford. But Walker is concerned with his team’s ability to handle success.
“We’ve got to come out there and play,” Walker said. “We’re in unfamiliar territory. Five wins in a row – these kids have got to want to win and come out and play like it.”
Senior Bethany Korte, who will sign today (Thursday) with Evangel, was 2-for-4 with three runs and four stolen bases. Carmen Floyd tripled and knocked in two runs after sitting out the previous game with an ankle injury.
Hannah Pounds, Shelbi Moore and Floyd each scored twice. Pounds had two steals.
The Lady Tigers have averaged 11 runs per game during the winning streak. But they’ve also surrendered six runs or more to the last three opponents.
“We’ve got to quit making mistakes or continue to hit the ball and score 15, 16, 17 runs,” Walker said. “That’s not really softball to me. It should be a 5-1 ballgame.
Behind by four runs in the bottom of the third inning, Tory Burgess doubled and Moore and Floyd each singled as Houston scored four unearned runs to tie it at 5-all.
The Lady Tigers took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth when Floyd tripled home Moore, who led off the inning with a walk. Kyla Chambers followed with an RBI groundout to score Floyd.
Chambers helped keep the game tied in the top half of the inning with a savvy defensive play. After a leadoff hit, Chambers held her glove on the baserunner as she slid back into first base. The runner removed her hand for a split second and was called out.
Salem got two more singles in the inning but with two outs, Pounds fanned the leadoff hitter, who already had two hits, to escape the jam.
Walker said Pounds’ strikeout was the game’s second-biggest play. He gave top honors to Chambers.
“I’m always telling them it’s the little things that are going to win ball games,” Walker said. “Holding the tag on the girl at first base, she takes her hand off and she’s out. That was huge.”