LEITCHFIELD -- The Spring Sports season got under way this past Saturday as the baseball and softball teams ignored rain, wind and lightning to hold scrimmages on their home fields.
The Cougar softball team, preparing to make a run at a state title this season, hosted Mercy Academy, of Louisville, two-time defending champions of the seventh region. In five innings of varsity action, the Cougars shut out the Jaguars 2-0.
Over at Don Lee Field, the Cougar baseball team hosted Muhlenberg North for seven innings of varsity action. The Cougars came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game at 3-3 before the JV squads took the field.
The Cougars got this game in despite about a 45-minute delay when lightning threatened on the horizon. Though it rained pretty hard for a short time, the field was in excellent shape.
Seniors Michelle Critchelow and Beth Glasscock took up where they left off last season when they were both All-State performers. Glasscock drove in the first run of the game, and Critchelow allowed no runs in four innings of work and struck out eight.
Critchelow allowed the Jaguars just one hit, an infield single to Allie Miles leading off the first inning. Miles stole second, but Critchelow struck out Jessica Rahm for the first out. Senior catcher Amy Satterfield then caught Miles straying too far off second, and Miles was tagged out in a run-down by shortstop Jordan Clemons for the second out of the inning. Critchelow struck out Kelly Greer looking to end the inning.
Critchelow allowed just two more runners during her stint on the mound. She gave up a two-out walk to Terren Hodge in the third, then Greer reached on an error in the fourth. Neither runner advanced past second base.
The Cougars put a runner on second in the first inning, but Critchelow's line drive was speared at short by Miles for the third out.
They loaded the bases with one out in the second on a leadoff double by Satterfield and a pair of walks. Jaguar pitcher Sable Doucette got out of the jam by striking out Mallory Carter and getting Taylor Houchin to fly out to left.
Grayson County got the only run it needed in the third. Senior Cindy Langley led off with a walk and stole second base. Desiree Waterman laid down a perfect sacrifice to move Langley to third, then Glasscock brought her home with a hard ground out to second base. Critchelow ended the inning with another line shot at first baseman Natalie Glenn.
The Cougars scored their second run in the fourth. Satterfield walked and was replaced on the bases by Christina Majors, who promptly stole second base. Clemons looped a short liner to right field for a single. Hodge, in right, tried to get Clemons at first, but the ball got away, allowing Majors to score from third.
Clemons stole second, then went to third on a groundout. With two out, Carter appeared to have beaten out an infield hit that would have scored the third run, but the umpire called her out to end the inning.
Houchin pitched the final inning and struck out the first batter she faced. With the outfield swung way around toward left field on the center fielder Sarah Reddington, the left-handed hitting Reddington crossed up the strategy by stinging a ball on the ground into the wide-open hole in right-center field for a triple.
Houchin then got some great help from senior right fielder Alicia Strickland, who made a sliding grab of a screaming, low liner off the bat of Doucette. Houchin then ended the inning by getting designated player Allison Breit to ground out to Glasscock at third.
The young Cougars got on the board first with a run in the third inning. Jon Meredith singled, then advanced to third on a pair of passed-balls. Corey Johnson drove Meredith home with a ground out and the Cougars took a 1-0 lead.
North tied things in the fourth when an error on a steal attempt allowed the runner to reach third base. That run scored on a long fly ball to center field. Johnson made a diving catch at the fence to rob the North batter of extra bases, but the run came home to tie things.
Junior Kyle Lashley started on the mound for the Cougars and pitched two inning of scoreless ball. Junior Brett Clemons replaced him and gave up that first, unearned run.
Junior Lincoln Skaggs was on the mound when the Stars took a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning. Skaggs hit the leadoff batter, who then stole second base. A wild pitch moved him to third, and he scored on a double down the line in right that fell just in front of a diving Johnson, who had moved over to right field from center.
A passed-ball moved the runner to third and he scored on an infield hit to make it 3-1. The Stars threatened to get more as they had runners at first and second with just one out, but freshman third baseman Sean Embry made a diving stop of a line drive, then doubled off the runner at second base to end the threat.
The Cougars tied things in the bottom of the sixth. Embry was hit by a pitch leading off, then went to third as Meredith doubled over the head of the center fielder. Clemons singled solidly to left to drive in Embry and send Meredith to third. Casey Johnston then scored Meredith with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Cougars loaded the bases with just one out, but Clemons was picked off second base and catcher Kendall Johnson struck out to end the inning.
Johnston pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, but the Cougars could not get a run across in the bottom of the inning and the scrimmage ended in a 3-3 tie.