Those hitters seemed to cause Spring Garden pitchers Hayden Bates and Madison Sides some problems in the early going of their game Friday.
Sand Rock scored three runs in the second to chase Bates in favor of Sides, who gave up five runs in the third. The eight-run deficit proved to be too much to for Spring Garden to overcome as Sand Rock claimed a 10-5 win.
"We've got some good weapons in our arsenal with our switch hitters," Sand Rock coach Josh Bates said. "We try to mix it up, and that kind of keeps the pitcher guessing."
Someone else that kept Class 1A, No. 10 Spring Garden (1-1) guessing was Sand Rock freshman pitcher McKenna Morgan. Morgan gave up just four hits and fanned nine in the complete-game win in the circle for the Lady Wildcats (3-1).
Morgan also contributed at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a triple, a walk and three RBIs.
"She's doing a great job locating her pitches," Josh Bates said. "She struggled a little bit at times tonight hitting her spots. A couple of her pitches weren't on, but that's just part of it. She's doing a good job at the plate seeing the ball and hitting the ball real well. She's really helping the offense and helping her own cause out a lot."
After a scoreless first inning, Sand Rock made the necessary adjustments at the plate against Hayden Bates and put together three runs to take a 3-0 lead. Right fielder Hannah Oliver led off the inning with a single. First baseman Courtney Williams walked to give the Lady Wildcats runners at first and second with no outs. Madison McCullough followed with sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third for leadoff hitter Madalyn Oliver, who grounded out to second to score Hannah Oliver.
Second baseman Megan McCullough delivered an infield single to score another Lady Wildcat run. Shortstop Taylor Rogers belted a run-scoring triple to right center, giving Sand Rock a 3-0 advantage.
Morgan retired the Lady Panthers in order in the second and led off the third with single to center off Sides. Third baseman Madison Smith and Hannah Oliver both reached on pair of Spring Garden errors to load the bases for Williams. Williams grounded into a fielder's choice, and Madison McCullough struck out looking for the second out, but Madalyn Oliver singled to center to score the Lady Wildcats' fourth run.
A bloop single to left by Megan McCullough drove home two more Sand Rock runs to make it 6-0. Rogers belted a single to center to score two more Lady Wildcat runs to make it 8-0.
"We made the adjustments at the plate in the second inning, then really hit the ball well for three consecutive innings and put a lot of pressure on their defense," Josh Bates said. "I thought we did a lot of good things at the plate. We put the pressure on them. It got us going in the right direction to get the runs we needed."
Both Megan McCullough and Rogers went 3-for-5 at the plate. Megan McCullough drove in four runs, while Rogers sent three runs across the plate.
But even down by an 8-0 margin, the Lady Panthers didn't lay down. They managed to score three runs in the bottom half of the third.
Haylie Williams walked to lead off the inning and later scored Spring Garden's first run on a passes ball. Catcher Kalista Free added a two-run double to left center to account for the other two Lady Panther runs in the inning, which made the score 8-3.
Sand Rock got one of those runs back when Morgan tripled to right center to lead off the fourth. Pinch runner Emily Langley scored on Smith's single to center to make it 9-3 Sand Rock.
Spring Garden rallied for a pair of runs in the sixth, thanks to shortstop Heather Smart. After walks to Sides and Williams, Smart delivered a two-run triple to left center with two outs to make the score 9-5.
Sand Rock pushed across a run in the top of the seventh on a RBI-single to left with two outs from Megan McCullough. Morgan retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning for the final.
Hayden Bates suffered the loss after working just two innings. She gave up three runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Sides pitched the rest of the game, giving up seven runs on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Heather Smart led Spring Garden at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a two-run triple and a walk. Free went 1-for-4 with a two-run double. Jessica Smart was 1-for-3 with a walk. Williams had a pair of walks.
"Being only the second game, I feel like we've still got some things we need to work on," Spring Garden coach Ann Welsh said. "I told them I was proud we didn't just lay down. We came back in and got some runs in a couple of innings, but we made a few base-running errors and a few errors in the field, and those just happened to be at times that were important."
Sand Rock 9, Weaver 4
WEAVER - Class 2A, No. 7 Sand Rock rallied for six runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 9-4 baseball win at Weaver on Thursday.
Austin Chambers claimed the win after working a scoreless seventh for the Wildcats (4-3). He gave up just one hit and had a strikeout in relief of Dustin Chambers, who tossed two innings and gave up a run with four strikeouts.
Austin Godshall and Dylan Mackey both drove in a pair of runs on singles in the seventh. Mackey finished the game with three hits. Ethan Jimmerson, Isaac Arnold and Zane Farrar each had a pair of hits.
Sand Rock travels to Glencoe on Saturday.