POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Three Rivers' leadoff hitter is now tied for team home run lead.
Jamie Lee hit two over the fence on Tuesday to give her a team-leading nine on the season. The speedy leadoff hitter also leads the Raiders in stolen bases, runs scored, and has the team's only triple.
Lee was 3 for 3 with two home runs in Tuesday's opener against St. Charles, and Three Rivers went on to win 7-2. She also homered in her first at-bat of the nightcap, which was suspended in the second inning due to rain and will be continued when Three Rivers (18-1, 6-1) plays at St. Charles (13-10, 4-5) on April 10th.
The top four players in the lineup Tuesday have now hit 23 home runs while the bottom five have hit 15. The Raiders on the bench in the opener have tallied another nine.
"That is what's awesome. And we finally got Kyla Puckett back in the lineup today, and she smoked a double, another great at-bat. It's nice, 1-9, they can all hit. What we're trying to learn now is just get it to the next person," Three Rivers coach Jeff Null said. "They're going to pitch around some of you, and it's fine. We've got another big stick behind you."
With power throughout the roster, the Raiders lead the nation in batting average (.459) and are fourth in both on-base percentage (.504) and slugging (.799).
However, the Raiders struggled to adjust to a different style of pitcher against St. Charles compared to what they faced against Crowder on Sunday.
"It was a little frustrating early on because we talked about making adjustments (after splitting with Crowder on Sunday)," Null said. "Totally different type of pitcher (Tuesday). A lot slower, worked away, so it was a different type of adjustments, and we struggled making adjustments until later in the game."
The Raiders had three hits through five innings, with two of those being Lee's solo home runs, and they were clinging to a 3-2 going into the bottom of the sixth.
The Raiders' No. 8 hitter drilled a long fly ball that carried through the rain for her fourth home run of the season.
With four home runs as well, Gracie Thomas came on as a pinch-hitter and doubled, rolling things over to Lee, who got an RBI single to put the Raiders ahead 7-2.
"It's a great problem to have. I've got kids on the bench with multiple home runs," Null said.
Kindi Puckett allowed a leadoff single in the top of the seventh but then got three quick outs. She allowed four hits and no walks with seven strikeouts.
St. Charles opened the game with a double and a single to take the early lead, but then Kindi Puckett (9-1) retired 13 straight batters. She didn't allow another hit until the fifth inning when Elizabeth Davis hit her first home run of the season, tying the game at 2 at the time.
After the first inning, St. Charles never brought more than four batters to the plate in any inning.
"Kindi was back to herself and threw a great game. She made one mistake, and that was on the home run," Null said. "They can swing it a little bit. I thought Kindi did a great job with them."
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic