The Lady Cougar softball team closed out its exhibition season at home last Tuesday with a 5-3 loss to the visiting Rockets of Louisville Assumption.
Despite the final score, the Lady Cougars acquitted themselves very well. After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the second inning, Grayson County came back to tie it in the bottom half of the inning.
When the Rockets put three on the board in the third inning, the Lady Cougars rallied back with two in the fourth to make it a one-run game.
The Lady Cougars will be relying heavily on the pitching of a pair of freshman cousins, Kara and Lauren Decker. Kara started in this scrimmage game, going five innings and allowing four runs, three of them earned, on seven hits. She walked none.
Lauren relieved in the sixth inning and allowed one earned run on two hits, while walking one.
Offensively, the Lady Cougars did not get a lot done, though they were consistently making contact throughout the game. They had just five hits against two Rocket pitchers, but two of them drove in their three runs on the day.
After pitching a 1-2-3 first inning, Kara Decker ran into a bit of trouble in the second inning. She got ahead 1-2 on Lily Nitzken before getting a ball up in the eyes of the senior first-baseman. Nitzken ripped a screaming liner down the line in left that caromed loudly off the plastic covering on the top of the fence for a double. She later scored the first run of the day on a single by catcher Kay Nilest.
The Rockets later had runners at second and third with no outs, but Decker struck out the next two batters and got the final out on a liner back to her.
The Lady Cougars got even in their half of the second. After Kara Decker walked leading off, she was replaced on the bases by freshman Grace White, who quickly moved to second following a wild pitch.
Left fielder Corbin Klineline followed by smashing a hot grounder which was fielded nicely by Courtney Rapson at third for the first out of the inning.
White reached third on another wild pitch before she was able to slide home with the Lady Cougars’ first run when Lauren Decker’s pop-up behind second base fell in for a hit.
Kara Decker was back in hot water in the third inning. After getting the leadoff batter to pop out, number-nine hitter Emily Morrison knocked a soft liner inside the right-field line for a single.
Morrison went to third on a single into the gap in right-center by starting Rocket pitcher Sabrina Fussenegger, who motored into second on the throw to third.
Olivia Helm followed by hitting a grounder to senior Kaylan Shull at shortstop. Shull bobbled the ball, allowing Morrison to score and leaving runner at the corners.
Decker then got Alyssa Tarquinio ground out for the second out as Helm moved to second. That brought up Nitzken once again and she came through with a single to left to drive in both runners to make it a 4-1 ballgame.
The Lady Cougars got a couple of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth. Kara Decker walked again and was replaced once more with White. Klineline beat out an infield hit to put runners at first and second with no one out.
Lauren Decker executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, but Alana Mudd grounded to third for the second out. That brought up senior Ashley Milliner, who ripped the first pitch she saw back through the middle for a two-run single to make it a one-run game, 4-3. Milliner went to second on the play at the plate, but was stranded there when catcher Haley Tucker lined out to the pitcher for the final out of the inning.
The Rockets added one more run in the sixth inning off Lauren Decker. Helm singled leading off and went to third on a double by Tarquinio. Nitzken followed with a fly ball to right which was dropped by Mudd allowing Helm to score. But Mudd recovered and got the ball back to Haley Brooks at second, who then threw out Tarquinio at the plate.
Decker struck out Nilest for the second out before walking Kalie Gish to put runners at the corners. Maddie Sweeney followed with a little come-backer to Decker. Nitzken came down the line at third, but had to retreat when Decker threw to Tucker behind the plate. Tucker was able to throw out Nitzken at third following a run-down for the final out of the inning.
The Lady Cougars had Megan England at second base with just one out in the fifth, but Shull popped out and Kara Decker lined out, stranding England at second.
In their final at bat, Tucker singled to right with one out, but was left there when England struck out and Brooks grounded out to second.
The Lady Cougars will be in action for real this Saturday as they host South Warren at 11 a.m. and Collins at 3 p.m. in round-robin play.