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Softball: Wiregrass relies on its offense

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Mon. March 25, 2013 | Steve Lee

ZEPHYRHILLS — Wiregrass Ranch defeated host Zephyrhills 11-7 Monday, rallying twice from two-run deficits in a slugfest highlighted by four solo home runs — two by each team.

“We’ve been in a hitting slump, but we’re coming out of it now,” Bulls coach Eddie Melendez said.

Zephyrhills coach Craig Milburn said he told his players “before the game that you’re going to have to outhit ’em and we didn’t.”

Zephyrhills saw its 10-game winning streak snapped in the nondistrict matchup of Sunshine Athletic Conference teams.

In all, 18 runs were scored on 27 hits — none bigger than solo homers by Shailynn Morales, whose fourth of the season gave Wiregrass Ranch (8-7) a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and her fifth that highlighted a two-run third that tied the game at 5.

“She’s got a natural swing,” Melendez said.

The Bulldogs (14-4) got their solo blasts in the fifth. Trailing 9-5, they pulled within 9-7 on back-to-back homers by Lindsey Hupp and Hannah Cook. But the Bulls tacked on two more on Elizabeth Diaz’s two-run double in the sixth to clinch it.

Zephyrhills took two early leads, the first of which came in a three-run first. Marissa Gochenour and Karisten Deem doubled with both runners scoring on an Ashley Seekins single. Seekins came in on Cook’s single.

After Wiregrass Ranch tied it at 3 with two unearned runs in the top of the second, Deem drove in Taylor Powell with a bunt single and Gochenour scored on Tori Jordan’s single.

The Bulls went ahead for good in the fourth, taking a 7-5 lead on Kasey Mowery’s two-run single. Mowery replaced designated hitter Danielle Trina and drove in Diaz and Rachael Heath.

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