Coronado softball coach Melissa Krueger bestowed a nickname on the top of her batting order that sounds a bit like a music group from the 1950s.
“The Four Lefties” put on a show Saturday for the Cougars.
Dylan Underwood, Erica Hardy, Tatum Spangler and Ashley Ward combined for eight of their team’s 10 hits and were center stage in Coronado’s 4-1 home victory over previously unbeaten Liberty.
“We made this lineup change right after (Bullhead City, Arizona) … and ever since that happened, they’ve kind of jelled,” Krueger said. “If we’re going to ride on anyone, it’s going to be those four. They set the tone for the whole game.”
Spangler went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Hardy was 2-for-2 with an RBI and reached base in all four of her plate appearances.
Ward was 2-for-4 with an RBI for top-ranked Coronado (16-5, 9-0 Sunrise League), which took over sole possession of first place.
“Every league game is important for later on with seeding,” Krueger said. “I think this helps a lot of my girls be confident the next time we see them that, hey, we can put the ball in play and we can do what needs to get done to win the game.”
Liberty (9-1, 8-1) went ahead 1-0 in the first on Morgan LaNeve’s run-scoring single to right, but the Cougars responded in the bottom half of the inning.
Underwood led off with a single and went to second on an error before scoring on Hardy’s line-drive single to left. One out later, Ward singled up the middle, then scored on Sophia McCann’s single.
McCann, Coronado’s No. 6 hitter, was 2-for-3.
“It was important to get out of that first inning with only giving up one run,” Krueger said, “and then to come back and get those runs back in the bottom half was huge.”
The Cougars added two runs in the second when Underwood and Hardy walked, followed by run-scoring singles from Spangler and Ward.
Spangler settled down after a 34-pitch first inning and finished with 13 strikeouts.
“Tatum gets stronger as the game goes,” Krueger said. “I think she just needed a little time to get relaxed, find out what the strike zone was, and she did it.”
Contact David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.