On a cold night, Havelock’s bats needed a couple of innings to warm up.
The Rams scored five runs in the fourth inning, breaking up a close contest, and went on to beat West Carteret 9-3 Thursday night at Havelock High.
“It’s been a three-game week and it’s been a very emotional week, and so we did get a late start,” said Havelock centerfielder Abby Clark, referring to the death of Havelock High math teacher Amanda Lawrence-Lane. “After we got our minds together and started working as a team, we jumped on it and started doing what we do best.”
Clark said the players just have to battle through the cold temperatures, which were in the 40s throughout the contest.
“It’s hard to keep the intensity up when it’s this cold,” Clark said. “That’s when we need to just stay fired up in the dugout and keep talking to stay warm. It takes motivation to keep going when it’s cold outside, but I feel like we’re pretty good at doing that. We just got a late start today.”
Mercedes Hargett’s sacrifice fly scored Taylor Forehand, who had singled earlier, giving the Rams (6-3, 3-3) their first run and tying the contest at 1-1 in the third.
In the fourth, Brittany Craig and Laniesha Nolan led off with bunt singles. Freshman Sam Howell drove a ball into left-center for a two-run single, giving Havelock a 3-1 lead.
“She’s just solid,” Havelock coach Anna Spear said of Howell. “She’s a good defensive player, as well as her stick.”
After Malorie Rowe’s sacrifice bunt, Hargett’s single scored Howell. Clark then followed with a two-run home run over the left-field fence, giving the Rams a 6-1 lead.
“It was there, and I took it,” Clark said. “After I hit it, it was iffy. I didn’t know. Sometimes I know when I hit them that they’re over, but this one was a nice surprise.”
Forehand, who came in to relieve the ailing Hargett on the mound, got the victory, giving up two runs, one earned, in five innings while striking out three.
“I was real pleased with Taylor coming in on the mound behind Mercedes,” Spear said.
The Rams added insurance in the sixth with three more runs. Hargett singled, Ashlynn Gosnell reached on an error and Emily Bowman walked, loading the bases. Craig followed with a two-run single to center, and Bowman crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
“Every one of them knows that they’ve got to play a significant role on this team,” Anna Spear said. “There are no big dogs this year. We’re all little puppies together.”
Havelock totaled 10 hits, while West Carteret (2-10, 1-5) made nine errors.
Craig and Hargett had two hits and two RBIs each. Howell and Clark also had two RBIs and one hit each, while Rowe, Forehand, Nolan and Gosnell had the other hits for Havelock.
Taylor Festerman had an RBI single for West Carteret, and Chelsea Benson collected two hits. Madison Dunton, Haleigh Gauthreaux and Jayde Grant had the Patriots’ other hits.
The Rams are next scheduled to play Saturday in the first round of an Easter tournament in Greenville.