The Cougar softball team made its season-opening debut a successful one last Tuesday as they came from behind to defeat the visiting McLean County Cougars 13-3 in five innings.
The Cougars’ eighth-grade catcher, Bailey Snyder, had a monster day at the plate, going 3-for-3, including a second-inning, three-run home-run and driving in six runs. Her double in the bottom of the fifth inning drove in pinch-hitter Nikki Golden with the run that ended the game by the 10-run rule.
Junior right-hander Lauren Decker started for the Cougars and notched the win. Decker pitched four innings, giving up five hits and three unearned runs. Her cousin, Kara Decker, pitched the fifth inning and retired the side in order.
McLean County took advantage of some questionable Grayson County infield play in the first inning to score its only runs of the game.
With one out, catcher Rileigh Bobo doubled to the fence in right field. Third-baseman Bobbi Harris followed with a ground ball to senior Haley Tucker at shortstop. Instead of firing to first-base for the second out of the inning, Tucker tried to tag Bobo, who was running to third.
Tucker missed applying the tag, and when her throw to third was wild, Bobo scored and Harris moved to second.
Savannah DeYoung followed by hitting a ground ball to third-baseman Embry Thorpe for what should have been the final out of the inning but was just the second. Harris moved to third on the play and scored when center-fielder Braci Arnold doubled down the line in right.
Ashleigh Bobo looped a single into right that scored Harris to make it 3-0. Lauren Decker then struck out pitcher Karissa Fannon to end the inning.
Grayson County countered with a pair of runs in their half of the first to make it a 3-2 game. Tucker walked leading off, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Decker followed by hitting a grounder to DeYoung at short, who froze in indecision and Decker beat out the play for an infield single, putting runners at first and second.
Another wild pitch moved both runners up a base, and when Snyder was hit with a pitch, the bases were loaded. Kara Decker ripped a ball into right, but it went right at Sarah Cessna for the first out, and when Snyder drifted too far off first base, Cessna threw her out for a double play.
Madeline Carter followed with a base hit to drive in Tucker with the season’s first run to make it 3-1. Thorpe then hit a soft ground ball at second baseman Olivia Abney, who was able to get a glove on the ball, but could not field it cleanly as the second run scored.
The Cougars sent nine batters to the plate in a four-run second inning. Senior Jodi Decker singled leading off the inning, and she moved to second on a single by Tucker.
Lauren Decker sacrificed the runners to second and third, bringing up Snyder, who got all of a 1-1 pitch and sent it beyond the fence for a three-run shot that put the Cougars in front to stay, 5-3. Kara Decker followed with another round-tripper deep to right field to make it 6-3.
Grayson County again sent nine hitters to the plate in in the third inning and this time scored six times. Katie Imbrescia singled opening the inning before Jodi Decker ripped a pitch over the head of Arnold, in center, for a double that put runners at second and third.
Tucker followed with a little bloop on the infield that went for a hit, and Imbrescia alertly scored on the play to make it 7-3, with Decker holding at second. Lauren Decker hit a little looper behind third base that went for another hit and loaded the bases.
That brought up Snyder and she ripped a 1-1 pitch into left that drove in two more runs to make it 9-3 and leave runners at first and second. Kara Decker followed with a single down the right-field line to drive in another run and put runners at the corners.
Kara Decker stole second before Carter grounded out to first for the first out of the inning. Snyder scored on the play to make it 11-3 and Decker moved to third. Sedam laid down a bunt and was thrown out for the second out of the inning, but Decker was able to score to make it 12-3.
Grayson County was retired 1-2-3 in the fourth inning, but in the fifth got the deciding run. Golden came to the plate leading off the inning, pinch-hitting for Lauren Decker. Picking on an 01 pitch, Golden sent a towering fly to center that fell in for a double to bring up Snyder
Working the count to 2-2, Snyder drove a ball to the fence in left-center to bring home Golden with the deciding run.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.