The young Cougar pitching staff found out over the weekend what it is like doing battle against the top teams in Kentucky as Grayson County lost three of four games at the Greenwood Border Battle, held in Bowling Green on Friday and Saturday.
The Border Battle, hosted by Greenwood High School each year, always draws some of the toughest competition from around the state. No less than a dozen teams either in the top 25 or who had received votes for that honor were present at this year’s tournament.
In the same pool as the Cougars were number-12 Union County and number-17 Assumption. Following pool play, the Cougars drew Madisonville-North Hopkins for their final game. The Maroons are currently ranked in a tie for sixth with Central Hardin. The Bruins beat then number-one McCracken County in their final game on Saturday.
The Cougars got off to a good start, beating Glasgow 7-5 Friday evening in pool play. They then faced Union County and were run-ruled 12-2 in five innings.
In their final pool-play game Saturday morning against Assumption, the Cougars came from behind to tie the game 3-3 in the third inning, but the Rockets roared back to win 7-3.
In their final game of the tournament, a slug-fest against North Hopkins, the Cougars stayed with the Maroons until the seventh inning when an arm-weary Lauren Decker gave up 10 hits and eight runs in an 18-9 loss.
The Cougars took the lead with two runs in the first inning. A leadoff single by Megan England and a double by Kaylan Shull put runners at second and third. England scored on a groundout by Kara Decker, then Shull scored on a bunt by Ashley Milliner.
After the Scotties scored in the top of the second, the Cougars added another run in their half of the inning to make it 3-1. An England single drove in Corbin Klineline, who had reached on a fielders choice.
The Scotties tied the game with two runs in the third inning, but the Cougars went back on top with a run in the bottom of the third. Milliner doubled leading off the inning and scored on a pair of Scottie fielding errors.
Grayson County scored twice in the fourth inning on a single by England, a triple from Decker and an RBI single by Alana Mudd.
After the Scotties scored twice in the fifth inning to make it 6-5, the Cougars scored an insurance run in the sixth to make it 7-5. Klineline singled leading off, was sacrificed to second by Grace White, then scored on a single by England. Lauren Decker then worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning to pick up the win.
The Cougars got off to a great start, scoring two runs in the top of the first, but the Bravettes responded by sending 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first and scoring 10 times against freshman hurler Kara Decker. The barrage included a grand slam home run off the bat of second-baseman Mikayla Thompson.
The Bravettes added another run in the second inning, then pushed across one more in the fifth to win by the mercy rule 12-2.
The Rockets took an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, but the Cougars scored three times in the third to tie the game.
Lauren Decker singled with one out and was replaced on the bases by Montana Woosley. England looped a single to right, moving Woosley to third, from where she scored on a single by Shull. After England and Shull pulled a double steal, Kara Decker slashed a line drive to the fence in left-center for a triple to drive in both base runners.
Two Cougar errors in the third inning led to two more Rocket runs as Assumption went in front to stay against Lauren Decker. They added two more insurance runs in the fourth inning to ensure their win.
This was a back-and-forth game that the Cougars led for much of the time. The Maroons’ center-fielder, Kaylee Tow, who is just a freshman, was the big thorn in the sides of the Cougars as she was a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate, including a double and an inside-the-park home run in the first inning. Tow drove in four runs and scored four times on the day.
Two led off the game by hitting Lauren Decker’s first pitch to the fence in center-field and before the Cougars could get the ball back in, Tow had rounded the bases for the inside-the-park homer. One out later, Mallory Peyton made it 2-0 by taking a ball completely out of the park for another home rum
The Cougars bounced back, sending 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second and scoring five time. Shull tripled with the bases loaded to drive in three of the runs and Kara Decker drove in Shull with a single.
After the Maroons tied things at 5-5 with three runs in the top of the third, the Cougars scored in the bottom of the inning to go back in front. Haley Brooks walked leading off, was sacrificed to second, then moved to third on a ground out. Brooks later scored the run on a passed ball to make it 6-5 in favor of the Cougars.
Grayson County made it 7-5 with a run in the fourth inning when Shull tripled and scored on a wild pitch.
The Maroons tied it 7-7 with a pair of runs in the fifth inning, then took the lead with three runs in the sixth, which included a two-run double by Tow.
Grayson County answered back with two more runs in their half of the sixth on RBIs by Kara Decker and Mudd to make it 10-9. But the wheels fell off the bus in the seventh as the Maroons sent 13 batters to the plate to score eight times.
Lauren Decker had pitched seven innings on Friday, then had gone seven in the first game on Saturday. By the seventh inning against the Maroons, she had nothing left and was shelled for 10 hits.
The Cougars are now 15-6 on the season.