With their 5-1 win Thursday evening over visiting Edmonson County, the Cougar softball team assured themselves of the number-one seed in the 12th District Softball Tournament, which will be held at Whitesville Trinity beginning May 23.
The LadyCats came into Thursday’s game having 19 wins on the season and a 4-1 district record. But that one district loss was to the Cougars, 6-3 at the end of April in Brownsville. Even though the two teams ended up with the same district record, the Cougars will be number-one because they beat the LadyCats twice.
Junior pitcher Lauren Decker had one of her best outings of the year as she held the Lady Cats scoreless for six innings before giving up a run in the seventh. Decker’s control throughout the game was flawless as she did not go to a three-ball count on any of the LadyCat batters. She gave up just the one earned run on seven hits and struck out two.
Meanwhile, the Cougars were going off at the plate against Edmonson starter and loser Rachael Duncan. The Cougars pounded out 12 hits on the day, including four in the first inning when they scored four times. Decker, catcher Bailey Snyder, designated player Rachel Snyder and center-fielder Allie Horton all had two-hit games, with seventh-grader Rachel Snyder driving in a pair of runs with her first-inning single.
The Cougars scored all they would need in the first inning. Shortstop Hailey Tucker led off with a solid single up the middle. Tucker was safe at second when Decker’s grounder to third was thrown wide by Jhonna Basil, pulling second baseman Cierra Woodcock off the bag.
Bailey Snyder followed with another ground ball to third, which Basil turned into a force out on Tucker. Embry Thorpe then beat out an infield single that loaded the bases. That brought up second baseman, Kara Decker, who laced several line drives that went foul before ripping a 3-2 pitch to straight-away center field.
Kayla Whittington seemed to have the ball tracked, only to have it tick off her glove and roll all the way to the fence, allowing the Cougars to score two runs and leave runners at second and third.
First baseman Nikki Golden flew out to right for the second out, but Rachel Snyder came through with a looping single to right that plated two more runs to give the Cougars a 4-0 lead.
Horton followed with a single to put runners at first and second, but Bailey Sedam grounded out to end the inning.
The Cougars scored again in the third inning but missed a golden chance to add more. Kara Decker led off with a single to center, then moved to third on a one-out single by Rachel Snyder, who promptly stole second base to put runners at second and third.
Horton followed by beating out an infield hit to drive in Decker to make it 5-0. Snyder moved to third on the play and Horton later stole second to put both runners in scoring position, but Duncan struck out Sedam to end the rally.
The Cougars put runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings, but were unable to break through Duncan again.
Meanwhile Lauren Decker was mowing down the LadyCats. Edmonson had just three base runners reach as far as second base through the first six innings. The LadyCats put a runner at second with two outs in the fourth, but Decker got Duncan to ground out to end that threat.
Edmonson put runners at first and second with two outs in the sixth, but again Duncan grounded out to end the inning.
The Lady Cats finally got on the board in their final at bat. First-baseman Megan Dockery led off the inning by blasting a double off the fence in right field. Cierra Woodcock grounded out, but moved Dockery to third base. Carsan Logsdon grounded out to Tucker at short for the second out of the inning, but number-nine hitter Madelyn Stice singled to right to drive in Dockery to make it 5-1.
Jhonna Basil and Olivia Allen followed with infield hits which loaded the bases, but Decker got Whittington to hit a weak grounder to Kara Decker at second to end the game.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 12-11 for the season, while the LadyCats fell to 19-9.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.