Playing against the South Warren Lady Spartans, a team ranked in the pre-season Top 20 in the state, the Lady Cougar softball team fell 11-5 in the season’s first scrimmage game Wednesday evening at the Cougar softball complex.
The Spartans wasted little time, scoring twice against junior Lauren Decker in the top of the first to take the early lead. Emma Mills beat out an infield single leading off, then moved to third on a one-out single by Alexis Isable. Lauren Martin followed by lining a double to the fence in right-center that plated both runners to make it 2-0.
The Cougars had a pair of first inning hits, but ran themselves out of the inning with some shoddy base-running. Leadoff hitter Haley Tucker, blooped a ball into left field for a hit. One out later, Decker singled up the middle.
Tucker hesitated rounding second base before deciding to try for third. The throw from the outfield caught Tucker between bases and she was tagged out in a rundown. Decker, meanwhile, decided to try for second base, but she was also caught in a rundown and was tagged out for an inning-ending double play.
The Spartans made it 4-0 with a pair of runs in the third inning. Decker got ahead in the count 0-2 to Mills leading off the inning, but the Spartan center-fielder got all of the next pitch and drove it out of the park in center to make it 3-0.
Two outs later, Kaitlyn LaSala doubled to the fence in center, then scored when pitcher Karson Williams singled up the middle.
The Spartans put the game out of reach in the top of the fifth when three Cougar errors led to six unearned runs. Williams drove in a run with a single, while Bailee Collins drove in another with a ground out and Katie Conley’s sacrifice fly plated another.
Grayson County finally got on the board in their half of the fifth off reliever Shelby Nunn. Tucker led off the inning by beating out an infield hit. When the throw to first was high, Tucker took second base. Catcher Bailey Snyder followed by ripping a pitch to the fence in right-center, easily scoring Tucker to make it 10-1.
Two more Cougar errors in the sixth inning led to the Spartans final run, which was driven in by first-baseman Madilyn Daugherty with a two-out single off reliever Kara Decker.
The Cougars put another run on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Three straight walks by reliever Abby Haynes loaded the bases for the Cougars. Haynes then struck out the next two batters she faced before Tucker walked to drive in Madeline Carter with the run that made it 11-2.
Grayson County put three runs on the board in their final at-bat. Back-to-back singles by Lauren and Kara Decker put runners at the corners with no one out. One out later, Allie Horton hit a soft grounder down the line at third to plate Lauren Decker. Horton beat the throw at first for an infield single and when the throw was wild at first, Horton moved into second while Kara Decker went to third.
Third baseman Embry Thorpe followed with a solid single to center that plated both runners to make it 11-5. The Cougars later had runners at second and third with two outs, but Tucker struck out to end the contest.
The Lady Cougars will be in action for real next Tuesday afternoon when they host the McLean County Cougars in the season-opener. That game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.