The Cougar softball team made a big statement Thursday evening in Morgantown as they blasted Butler County 11-6 in the first 12th District game of the season.
Grayson County pounded out 14 hits against the Bears, batting around and scoring six times in the third inning to break open a game that had been tied at 2-2.
Freshman right-hander Lauren Decker was masterful in the pitcher’s circle allowing just three earned runs on seven hits. Decker walked two and struck out two in her seven innings of work. She also drove in a pair of runs with a single in the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the third.
The Bears got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor King hit the first pitch she saw from Decker for a solid single to left. Abigale Fry and Amy Rogers both reached on bunt singles to load the bases with no one out.
Lynsie Clark drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to Megan England, in center. Decker then walked Natoshia White to re-load the bases. Hannah Peach grounded to short, where Kaylan Shull went to third instead of home for the force for the second out of the inning as the second run scored. Decker then got Callie Phelps to line out to Ashley Milliner at third to end the inning.
The Cougars got even with a pair of runs in the second inning. Corbin Klineline led off with a soft single to right and she scored all the way from first on a double to the fence in center by Milliner, who reached third on the play at the plate. One out later, Milliner scored on a single by Decker to tie things at 2-2.
Grayson County sent 11 batters to the plate in the third inning as they took control of the game with six runs. Klineline and Ashley had back-to-back singles to drive in the first two runs. Alana Mudd followed with a grounder to shortstop Callie Cardwell whose throw home was too late to get a sliding Klineline.
Decker followed with a sacrifice fly that drove in a run, and two more runs came home when Bear pitcher, Phelps, threw wildly to first on a come-backer off the bat of Haley Tucker.
Three Cougar errors led to two unearned Bear runs in the bottom of the third. Amy Rogers went to second on an error in the outfield, stole third, then scored when a Tucker throw back to Decker went into center field. First-baseman Hannah Peach had an RBI double with two outs to drive in the second run.
Two Cougar errors led to a Bear run in the fifth inning that made it an 8-5 game, but the Cougars added two more runs in the sixth on singles by Ashley and Mudd that made it 10-5.
Phelps singled leading off the Bear fifth, moved to third on a pair of groundouts, then scored to make it 10-6 on a single by King.
The Cougars added one more run in the top of the seventh after two were out. Megan England singled and went to third on a single by first-baseman Kara Decker, who advanced to second on the play at third. England then came home on a wild pitch to make it 11-6.
Lauren Decker retired the first two Bear batters in the seventh before giving up a single to Phelps. Decker then closed things out when she got Cardwell to line out to England in center.