ANNA – In their first test against District 11-4 competition this season, Anna’s Lady Coyotes passed with flying purple colors. Wearing their all-purple unis at home on March 11, Anna blew out Sanger’s Lady Indians, 10-0, with a late-innings hitting barrage and Hannah Howell’s mastery from the pitcher’s circle. To top it off, Howell blasted a walk-off, sixth-inning grand slam to end this one early, a bases-loaded shot that triggered the 10-run-lead-after-five rule.
Indeed, a thrilling finish — and start to Anna’s district slate.
Besides Howell’s 4-run dinger, Qua Fisher deposited a Sanger pitch over the fence in the fifth, and Amber Thille and Kallie Harris each went 3-for-4 at the plate.
“It took us a little bit to get going,” Anna head coach Lindsey Gage said, “but we finally adjusted in the [batters’] box and I think we weren’t swinging as hard as we normally do. I told them to go up there and attack the ball and things changed in the fifth inning. I’m just really proud of them because last year things didn’t really go our way. Coming out with a district-opener win is a big deal for us. … A home run by Qua then a walk-off grand slam by Hannah Howell is a pretty good day.”
What about having to play another district game tomorrow? “If we could play every district game this week I would do it,” Gage laughed. “Hopefully, the momentum is on our side and we keep rolling. I think our kids are excited.”
Howell’s pitching turn included six no-hit innings, nine strikeouts and two walks. “She’s doing great,” Gage said. “Her finally getting to throw in warmer weather has been an advantage for us. We haven’t really seen what she can do. Throwing in 35-degree weather is hard on anybody. It’s fun to watch her out there.” The Lady Indians’ starter went the whole way, surrendering 10 hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Anna (13-4-1) opened the scoring with two runs in the second, sparked by Hannah Price’s one-out triple to right. After a walk to Hannah Morland, Madi McPherson laid down a perfect drag bunt to bring Price home. Thille then slapped a 2-2 pitch to left, scoring Morland from third.
The score remained 2-0 into the fifth inning. Howell closed out Sanger’s half of that frame with a nice over-the-shoulder catch of a pop-up between first and second base. Thille led off Anna’s fifth with a double to left and Harris’ single to right followed, moving Thille to third. With Howell at the plate, Harris stole second. Howell then grounded out to short but it scored Thille for a 3-0 edge and moved Harris to third. On a pickoff attempt at third, Sanger’s catcher tossed the ball into left field and Harris raced home. That’s when Fisher stepped up and sent a 1-2 offering out of the park in left-center for a 6-0 Anna lead.
In the sixth, with one out and Morland on first, Thille and Harris again teamed for back-to-back hits, this time loading the bases for Howell. Howell took three-straight balls then watched a strike before sending a line drive screaming over left field wall and into the night, ending the contest.
As for those sharp-looking purple unis, with results like this, Lady Coyote fans are likely see plenty more of them in the coming weeks. Just a guess.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Sanger 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0 0 2
Anna 0 2 0 0 4 4 X 10 10 0