An unearned run proved to be the difference last Friday in Whitesville as the Cougar softball team suffered a 4-3 loss in their first 12th District game of the young season.
Trinity (6-6) scored first with an unearned run in the third inning off starter and loser, Kara Decker, but the Cougars (4-5) answered with a pair of runs in the fourth. They still led 2-1 in the seventh, when Trinity scored the tying run and sent the game into extra innings.
The two teams then went to an International Tie-Breaker in the eighth inning. The Cougars scored once and had a second run cut down at the plate. Leading 3-2, Decker gave up a pair of hits that resulted in the winning runs crossing the plate.
Decker pitched seven and one-third innings, giving up four runs, one unearned, on nine hits. She struck out six and walked no one. Trinity’s Kate Howard pitched all eight innings, allowing three runs, all earned. She struck out two and walked three.
The Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the third inning but missed an opportunity to score even more. Right-fielder Val Wilkerson led off the inning against Decker and lofted a lazy fly ball into right that was dropped by senior Jodi Decker.
Howard followed with a single to right to put runners at first and second and Howard was replaced at first by Silva Stauffer. Decker then struck out both Erin Kinsey and Savannah Aul, but Nina Wathen singled to right to drive in Wilkerson.
Abby Booker singled to center, but Cougar center-fielder Allie Horton threw a strike to catcher Bailey Snyder to cut down Stauffer trying to score from second and the inning came to a close.
The Cougars struck back in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs, but like the Raiders in the pervious inning, missed the opportunity to score mare.
First-baseman Lauren Decker singled leading off the inning. With one out, Decker scored all the way from first on a double by Snyder, who was able to reach thrid on the play at the plate.
Embry Thorpe followed by laying down a bunt to bring in Snyder with the second run. When Howard, who fielded the ball, threw wildly at home, Thorpe moved into second base.
Madeline Carter then hit a sharp grounder to short. Possibly thinking there were two outs, Thorpe ran at second and was tagged out for the second out of the inning, leaving Carter at first.
Horton followed by laying down another bunt and beating it out for a hit. Carter alertly went to third on the play, and when the throw at third was late, Horton took second. Jodi Decker then flew out to end the threat.
The Cougars threatened again in the fifth inning when a walk to Taylor Mudd and a Haley Tucker double put runners at second and third with no one out. Lauren Decker flew out to Aul in center, and when Mudd tried to tag up and score, Aul was able to gun her down at the plate for a double play. Kara Decker then grounded out to end the inning.
The Raiders tied it 2-2 with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Catcher Erica Russellberg blasted a double to the wall in left-center and was sacrificed to third by Brea Murphy. Wilkerson grounded out to Thorpe at third for the second out, but Russellburg was able to score on the play. The Raiders later loaded the bases, but Kara Decker was able to wriggle out of the inning without further damage.
The game then went to the International Tie-Breaker, where the teams begin each inning with the player who made the last out of the previous inning running at second base. Lauren Decker began the inning at second base, and moved to third on a ground out by her cousin, Kara.
Snyder ripped her second double of the day to plate Decker and give the Cougars a 3-2 lead. Thorpe grounded out for the second out, but Carter ripped a single to left. Snyder tried to score on the play, but was thrown out at the plate by Murphy left to end the inning.
The Raiders began their eighth with Wathen at second base. Abby Booker singled to right, but Wathen was only able to advance to third. Brittany Booker grounded out, moving Abby Booker to second.
Russellberg then singled up the middle to bring Wathen home with the tying run. Booker kept coming and she scored the winning run as Horton’s throw from center was off-line.
The Cougars will be in action again this weekend when they take part in the Lexington Lafayette Invitational. They will face the host Lafayette Generals in a morning game on Saturday.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.