Bandys softball went shopping at the gap.
It wasn't a team field trip to the mall, but rather an dominant offensive performance on the diamond for the Lady Trojans, who drove in seven extra base hits against East Burke (7-5, 5-2).
The victory puts Bandys (9-2, 5-0) in firm control of first place in the Catawba Valley Athletic Conference.
"It was a big win for us today," said Trojans coach Mike Carpenter. "We hit the ball well. We hit the right pitches in the right places. It gives us momentum going into the second half of the season."
The Lady Trojans logged five extra base hits in the first three innings of the game. Katie Carpenter doubled in the bottom of the first inning, but was stranded on base.
Bandys scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second. Scarlett Harris scored from third base. Harris doubled earlier in the inning for the Trojans' second extra base hit.
Three consecutive extra base hits with two outs in the bottom of the third helped the Trojans grow their lead to 4-0. Harris, Rachel Cox and Kelsey Clark all had doubles on three straight at-bats.
"We work real hard on hitting balls into gaps," coach Carpenter said. "We will spend a majority of our practices hitting to locations. We really don't go through any practice without doing some work hitting the pitch to certain locations to the field in certain situations. The girls have really worked hard on adapting that type of hitting, instead of just going to the plate and just slugging."
Harris said her approach with two outs is simple.
"I was just looking for the first pitch I could drive," Harris said. "I know if I have two outs, I have to go out there and do my duty."
East Burke finally cracked Bandys pitcher Taylor Sigmon's game in the top of the fourth inning. Sigmon allowed three hits in the inning, including two singles and a double. The Lady Cavaliers scored their one and only run of the game.
Sigmon struck out three batters and allowed four hits during three innings on the mound.
While East Burke tried to get back into the game, the Bandys hits kept on coming. Katie Carpenter homered with two outs and in the bottom of the fourth.
The Lady Trojans sealed the 10-run mercy rule victory in the fifth inning. Rachel Cox drove in the deciding runs in the inning on a two-RBI single that scored Kalyn Chapman and Katie Carpenter. Clark and Brittany Catoe had an RBI each in the inning.
Coach Carpenter was pleased with the performance, but says his team needs to continue its performance and look ahead to the future.
"We have two more tough games this week," Carpenter said. "I am hoping it picks us up and gives us a push going into this next stretch run through April. We always strive to be stronger at the end of the season. We just need to continue to practice hard and hit the ball."