Though they had to hold on by the skin of their teeth, the Cougar softball team made it 10 wins in a row with a 5-4 district win at Whitesville Trinity Wednesday evening.
In the second game of the evening, Trinity eked out a 1-0 win over the Cougar JV squad in five innings.
Freshman Lauren Decker pitched all seven innings for the Cougar varsity to pick up the win. Decker worked out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh when the Raiders had put the potential winning runs on the bases with no one out. She allowed eight hits, walked one and struck out three. Only two of the four runs she allowed were earned.
The Cougars hit the ball with authority, pounding out 13 hits against Raiders starter and loser Liza Howard, but left 10 runners on base, making it a closer game than it should have been.
Megan England was 3-for-4, including a triple, with two runs scored, while Kaylan Shull had three singles in four trips and drove in one. Kara Decker had a pair of hits, including a triple, and drove in one. Ashley Milliner was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs driven in.
Grayson County took the lead for good with two runs in the first inning. England singled leading off, stole second and went to third on a single by Shull. With one out, Milliner singled up the middle, plating England and sending Shull to third. Alana Mudd followed with a little topper in front of the plate, driving in Shull who slid in safely avoiding a tag.
The Raiders answered back with a run in the bottom of the inning. Callie Coomes bunted leading off the inning and was safe when second-baseman Haley Brooks could not handle the throw at first. Howard followed with a high pop behind second base that no one could catch and Coomes moved to second on the play.
A wild pitch moved the runners up a base before Abby Booker walked to load the bases. Coomes later scored on a line-drive sacrifice by Katie Wathen to make it 2-1. Decker got out of the inning by getting Nina Wathen to pop up and Kate Howard to ground out.
The Cougars threatened in both the second and third innings. In the second, singles by England and Kara Decker put runners at the corners with two outs, but Milliner grounded out to end the inning.
In the third, Mudd beat out an infield hit and moved to second on an errant throw to first. Lauren Decker sacrificed Mudd to third, but Haley Brooks struck out and Corbin Klineline grounded out to end the threat.
In the top of the fourth, the Cougars broke through for three more runs to go up 5-0. With one out, England tripled to the fence in right. Shull followed with a solid single to right to drive in England, then stole second base. Kara Decker ripped a pitch to right-center that drove in Shull and went for another triple. Milliner made it 5-0 when she followed with a single up the middle.
The Raiders got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, first-baseman Brianna Johnson doubled, moved to third on a single by Alex Hamilton, then scored on a groundout by Erica Russellburg. Decker got out of the inning by getting Coomes to ground out to Milliner at third.
An error, a single and a walk loaded the bases for the Cougars with two outs in the sixth inning, but Mudd grounded out to end that threat.
The Raiders made it close with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Decker struck out Nina Wathen leading off the inning, but Wathen reached first safely when Cougar catcher Haley Tucker could not hold onto the pitch. One out later, Johnson crushed the first pitch she saw from Decker to straight-away center field for a two-run home run to make it 5-4.
The score stayed that way until the Raiders came up for their final at-bats in the seventh. Coomes and Liza Howard laid down back-to-back perfect bunts for infield hits, putting the potentioal tying and winning runs on base with no one out.
Decker got Booker to ground to Shull at short for a force out at third. Decker then induced Katie Wathen to fly out to Mudd in right then got Russellburg to pop out to Tucker behind the plate for the final out of the game.
In the JV game, Raider pitcher Kate Howard held the Cougars to just two hits to earn the shutout win. Cougar pitcher Embry Thorpe allowed just five hits, but fell victim to an unearned run in the third inning.
A single, an error, a fielder’s choice and a bunt single loaded the bases for the Raiders with two outs. Erin Kinsey followed with what should have been the final out of the inning, but her high pop-up right at the first base bag was dropped by Morgan Henning, allowing the run to score.
The Cougars put a runner at second with just one out in the fourth inning, but could not get her in. Madeline Carter singled with one out in the seventh, but was stranded there when the next two Cougar batters grounded out.