The Cougar softball season came to an ignominious close on Monday as Hancock County’s Hornets took advantage of eight Cougar errors to win 11-1 in six innings in the opening round of the 3rd Region Tournament, held in Owensboro.
The Cougars reached the regional tournament as the 12th District Runners-Up following their nine-inning, 5-4 loss to the Edmonson County LadyCats in Friday’s 12th District Championship, held in Whitesville.
The Lady Cougars battled hard in this one but came up just short after the LadyCats took a 5-3 lead in the top of the ninth inning.
The LadyCats threatened early, loading the bases with no one out in the top of the first against Cougar starter Lauren Decker. But Decker got third-baseman Jhonna Basil to line out to Kara Decker at second for the first out, then got left-fielder Alex Whitfill to hit a come-backer to the circle. Decker came to the plate to catcher Bailey Snyder for a force out, then Snyder fired to first to complete an inning-ending double play to keep Edmonson County off the board.
Edmonson threatened again after two were out in the second. Carson Logsdon singled and LadyCat pitcher Rachael Duncan was safe when her pop-up was dropped at short by Haley Tucker. Second-baseman Caitlin Simon then dropped a single into short right-field. Cougar right-fielder Jodi Decker fielded the ball and threw a strike to Snyder at the plate to cut down Logsdon for the final out of the inning.
Kara Decker replaced Lauren Decker in the circle in the fourth inning, and the LadyCats were able to break through for the first two runs of the game. First-baseman Megan Dockery led off by ripping a ball to the fence in left-center for a triple. One out later, Logsdon doubled off the wall in center to bring in Dockery to make it 1-0.
Decker got Duncan on a pop-up to Embry Thorpe at third, but Simon singled to center, her third straight hit, and Logsdon was able to score to make it 2-0.
Grayson County fired right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring twice to knot the score at 2-2. Lauren Decker doubled leading off the inning and Kara Decker walked and was replaced on the bases by Maddie Duvall. Allie Horton followed with an infield single that ticked off Duncan’s glove, and the Cougars had the bases loaded with no one out.
Embry Thorpe brought in two runs to tie the game with a single into right-center. When Nikki Golden followed with a bloop single to left, the Cougars had re-loaded the bases and still had no one out. But Duncan buckled down, striking out designated player Rachel Snyder, and then getting Tucker and Katie Imbrescia on pop-ups on the infield and the Cougars had squandered a golden opportunity.
The LadyCats went back on top 3-2 with an unearned run in the fifth inning. With two outs, Dockery doubled to the fence in left, then moved to third on a single by Madelyn Stice. Logsdon followed with a grounder to Tucker at short. Tucker’s throw was low for an error, but the Cougars got Dockery in a run-down between third and home. A throw to Snyder was in time to get Dockery for the final out, but the Cougar catcher could not hold on to the ball and Dockery scored on the error.
But once again the Cougars answered back to tie it up. Bailey Snyder led off with a double, then scored on a single by Lauren Decker. Two outs later, Thorpe singled to put runners at first and second, but Duncan got Golden on a come-backer to end the inning.
The score stayed that way into extra innings, and Kara Decker was mowing down the LadyCats after giving up the run in the fifth inning. Decker retired 11 straight batters before running into trouble in the top of the ninth.
With one out, Kayla Whittington doubled to the fence in right-center. Rebecca Massey followed with a double in almost the same spot, bringing in Whittington to make it 4-3. Basil flew out for the second out of the inning, but Whitfill singled up the middle to plate Massey and Edmonson County had a two-run lead, 5-3.
Senior Abbie Harpe pinch hit for Imbrescia leading off the bottom of the ninth and smashed a line drive toward right field. But Dockery was able to snag the liner for the first out of the inning.
Snyder followed with her second double of the game, and with two outs, Kara Decker drove her home with a single to make it 5-4 and keep the Cougar hopes alive. But Horton grounded out to second to end the game.
Following the game, District awards were handed out. Named to the 12th District All-Academic Team were Taylor King, Butler County, Jhonna Basil, Edmonson County, Kara Decker, Grayson County, and Abby Booker, Trinity.
Named to the 12th District All-Regular-Season Team were: Madison Clark and Maddie McKinney, Butler County; Caitlin Simon, Rebecca Massey and Rachael Duncan, Edmonson County; Lauren Decker, Kara Decker, and Haley Tucker, Grayson County; Abby Booker, Savannah Aul, and Nina Wathen, Trinity.
On the 12th District All-Tournament Team were: Maddie McKinney and Zoie Pendley, Butler County; Abby Booker and Savannah Aul, Trinity; Lauren Decker, Embry Thorpe and Allie Horton, Grayson County; Alex Whitfill, Megan Dockery, Rachael Duncan and Madelyn Stice, Edmonson County.
The Cougars were never in this game after committing seven errors and giving up seven unearned runs in the first two innings.
The Hornets scored three times in the first inning and when the Cougars answered back with a run in the top of the second, it appeared they might be able to make a game out of it. But the Hornets scored four more unearned runs in the bottom of the second to take complete control.
Hornet pitcher Claire Westerfield was never in danger as she scattered six Cougar hits and gave up just the one run. She walked no one and struck out two.
The Hornets scored single runs in the third and fifth innings to lead 9-1. Jasmine James had an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to bring the score to 10-1, before Ashley Orr’s double drove in the run that ending things by the mercy rule, 11-1. Orr was 4-for-5 on the day, drove in two runs and scored twice. James and Emma Robinson both had three hits apiece for the Hornets
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.