BYNG — The Byng Lady Pirates flexed their muscles at the plate by hitting up and down the lineup in a 16-8 win over Holdenville Friday afternoon in the rain-delayed Byng Back To School Classic.
It was the first of five games scheduled Friday at the Bobby Johns Sports Complex in Byng. Today’s schedule begins at 10:30 a.m. with the host Lady Pirates batting Tecumseh. Byng is set to play the final game of the tournament at 4:30 p.m. today against Prague.
The entire Konawa portion of the Back to School Classic was canceled due to the wet weather that soaked the area Wednesday.
The Lady Pirates improved to 2-1 with Friday’s early victory, while Holdenville slipped to 2-2.
“It was a little bit of a slugfest,” said Byng head coach Scott Fortner.
Byng finished with 18 hits, while Holdenville piled up 10 hits of its own.
The Lady Pirates had just one error and made several nice defensive plays throughout the game.
“I think one thing we’re going to do well is play defense. And I think offensively, we’re going to be able to hit it and score some runs,” Fortner said.
“We didn’t have many errors and that’s the whole key for us,” he continued. “If we play clean softball, I think we’re going to be competitive and have a chance to make a little bit of noise. We just have to make sure we keep swinging the bats along with that.”
The Lady Pirates scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sydnee Fortner and Trenity Miller led off the frame with back-to-back singles before Molly Rainey drove a ball in the gap in right-center field. She sped around the basepaths and never slowed down, turning the big hit into an inside-the-park home run that put Byng on top 3-0.
McKinley Feazle, Byng’s starting pitcher, drove in two more runs with a two-RBI single that boosted the BHS lead to 5-0.
The Lady Pirates made it 7-0 with two more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Feazle belted an RBI triple and Kinsley Goza smacked an RBI double.
Holdenville got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning when freshman Cheyenne Fixico followed base hits by Braydyn Smith and Chelby Bowen with a three-run homer to left field that trimmed the Byng advantage to 7-3.
Byng responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on RBI singles by Krosby Clinton and Feazle and a sacrifice fly from Kali Dennis.
Trailing 10-3, the Lady Wolverines didn’t go away.
Holdenville strung together five runs on five hits in the top of the fifth inning to get within 10-8. Genelle James ripped a two-RBI double off the left field fence during the HHS volley, while Braydyn Smith, Randy West and Jaqueline Torres all had run-scoring singles.
The Lady Pirates kept their hit parade going and scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth to end the game via the run-rule.
Feazle helped her own cause at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Miller also had three hits and scored two runs for Byng.
Fortner had two hits and scored three times from the top of the Byng lineup, while Rainey, Britney Brooks-Teel, Goza and Kennedy Large all contributed two hits each. All nine players in the BHS batting order had at least one hit and scored at least a run.
“When we finished the fastpitch season last year, we were already eager for fastpitch season this year. We had some freshmen that were in the lineup last year that, by the middle of the season, were starting to learn how to play the game of softball a little bit,” Fortner said.
Fixico, a freshman for Holdenville, led the Lady Wolverines’ charge with three hits, two runs scored and three RBIs.
“We’re young on the mound, but I think McKinley did a good job today of staying ahead in the count. They have some girls that can flat put the ball in play,” Fortner said.
• Defensive change: Rainey, Byng’s ace and one of the top hurlers in the area as a junior, had arm surgery and is unable to throw from the mound so far this season. Fortner has moved her to shortstop, where she made a diving catch in foul territory of a flare off the bat of James in the second inning. She hustled the ball back to the infield and helped Byng end that inning with a double play.
“We didn’t know until way late — as a matter of fact right before the season started — what (Molly) was going to be able to do. She’s been released to do some infield stuff, but that’s about it right now,” Fortner said.
Sydnee Fortner, Byng’s regular shortstop and Scott Fortner’s daughter, was moved from the infield to centerfield for the Lady Pirates.
“My daughter is kind of the one that stepped up and said ‘Dad, whatever is best for the group is what’s best for me.’ It’s a good transition for us. We’re still solid at shortstop and we might be a little better in the outfield,” the veteran Byng coach said.