Cougars stay perfect in district with 7-3 win

By Don Brown

April 26, 2014

The Cougar softball team stayed perfect in 12th District play on Thursday as they defeated the visiting Raiders of Whitesville Trinity 7-3.

The Cougars improved to 16-7 for the season and moved to 5-0 in district play with the win.

Freshman Kara Decker went the distance in the circle for the Cougars to pick up the win. Decker allowed three runs, two of them earned, on five hits. She walked none and struck out nine.

Grayson County had a good day at the plate, pounding out 14 hits, including five doubles, against Whitesville starter and loser, Liza Howard. Senior Kaylan Shull was 4-for-4 on the day, including a double, and scored three times. Senior Ashley Milliner had a double in three trips to the plate and drove in a pair of runs.

Decker had a single and a double in three trips and drove in two runs. Sixth-grader Bailey Snyder got a start as the designated player and was 1-for-2 with a walk and scored twice for the Cougars.

Grayson County got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Shull singled, stole second base, and later scored on a two-out double by Milliner.

Leading off the top of the second inning, Raider first-baseman Brianna Johnson, who had homered in the first game between these two teams last week in Whitesville, jumped all over a 3-2 Decker pitch and drove a no-doubter well over the fence in left field to tie it up, 1-1.

The Cougars got that run back in the bottom of the second. Haley Brooks singled leading off and was sacrificed to second by Corbin Klineline. Junior Abbey Gibson followed with a line-drive single to left to plate Brooks to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead. Gibson later stole second, but was stranded there as Howard retired Snyder on a strike out and got Megan England to fly out to center-field.

Grayson County made it 3-1 with another solo run in the third inning. Shull led off by doubling to the fence in straight-away center-field, then moved to third on an infield, bunt single by Decker. Decker was replaced on the bases by sixth-grader, Maddie Duvall, was was later called out for leaving first base too soon. But Shull was able to score on a bunt off the bat of Milliner to make it a 3-1 game.

The Cougars added two more runs in the fourth inning to make it 5-1. Klineline drove a pitch to the fence in left for a leadoff double and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Gibson. Snyder walked to put runners at the corners and both runners scored on a double to left by Megan England. Trying to stretch the hit into a triple, England was called out on a close play at third.

Whitesville made it a 5-3 game with two runs in the top of the sixth. Katelyn Coomes led off with a single and advanced to second on a groundout by Howard. Katie Wathen beat out an infield single to put runners at the corners, then stole second to put two runners in scoring position.

Coomes scored and Wathen advanced to third when Cougar catcher Haley Tucker tried for a pickoff at third and threw the ball into the outfield. Wathen then scored the second run on a groundout by Johnson.

The Cougars got those runs back in their half of the sixth. Snyder led off the inning with a single to left, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. A one-out Shull single put runners at the corners, and when Decker doubled to the fence in right center, both runners came around to score to make it 7-3.

The Cougars later loaded the bases with just one out, but Howard got out of the inning by getting Brooks to ground into a force at home, then getting Klineline to pop up for the last out.

In the Raiders’ last at bat, Alex Hamilton drew a walk with two outs, but Decker struck out Savannah Aull to end the game.