The Cougars sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning as they scored four times. They added two runs in the second inning, then three more in the fourth. They had runners in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings to threaten ending the game by the 10-run rule, but could not push the run across.
It hardly mattered though as the Cougar bats were alive and well. Add to that six Trinity errors and some lights-out Cougar pitching and the outcome was sealed in favor of Grayson County.
Junior Jackie Higdon started the game for the Cougars and the Lady Raiders had little luck against her. Higdon allowed just one base runner in three innings of work. Shortstop Tara Connor looped a ball into left-field that fell for a hit. Mallory Carter made a diving attempt to come up with the ball, but it popped out of her glove as she hit the ground.
That was it for the Lady Raiders as Higdon struck out every other batter she faced. She was replaced in the fourth by senior Beth Schultz, who then closed out the game. Schultz allowed no runs on four hits, walked no one and struck out three. The Lady Raiders had runners at first and second with two outs in the fifth, but Schultz got Emily Howard to ground out to Alyssa Blessitt at first base to end the inning.
Grayson County got all it would need in the first inning. Shelbi Carter singled leading off the inning, then stole second base. Taylor Houchin followed with a single up the middle that plated Carter with the first run.
Jenna Cantway beat out an infield hit, then both runners moved up a base as Jordan Clemons grounded out. Mallory Carter then ripped a ball through the right side of the infield and two more runs scored to make it 3-0.
Brooke Pierce walked before Blessitt hit a ball at second-baseman Kelly Medcalf, who made a play at second trying to cut down Pierce. However, Connor failed to catch the ball, and when it went into left field, Carter scored on the error to make it 4-0.
The Cougars added two more unearned runs in the second inning. Houchin's liner into left field was dropped for an error by Kendra Bittel, then, when Houchin continued on to second base, Bittel's throw was wide of the bag and Houchin continued on to third on Bittel's second error on the play.
Two outs later, Mallory Carter's second hit, a single into left-field scored Houchin to make it 5-0. Pierce then followed with a booming drive to the fence in right-field that went for a triple to drive in Carter with the Cougars' sixth run.
Grayson County added three more unearned runs in the fourth inning. Clemons reached on a one-out error, then stole second base. With two outs, Pierce hit a ball to Connor at short and was safe at first as Connor's throw was high and wide of the bag. Clemons was able to score on the play.
Blessitt then drove Pierce home all the way from first as she ripped a ball inside the line in right that went for another triple. With Cristina Majors at the plate, Blessitt then scored the final run of the game on a wild pitch.
The Cougars were scheduled to play Edmonson County, a 1-0 winner over Butler County in Monday's second game, in Tuesday night's 12th District final. Be sure to see Monday's edition of the News-Gazette for all the action of that game.
News-Gazette Sports Reporter