By Don Brown
Victoria Decker’s seventh-inning RBI single into the right-field corner drove home Alanna Mudd with the winning run as the Cougars beat visiting Butler County 3-2 last Tuesday at the Cougar softball field.
The win kept the Cougars (19-3-1) a perfect 5-0 in district play and assured them of the top seed in next month’s 12th District Tournament.
The Cougars had defeated the Bears 7-1 two weeks ago in Morgantown, but things were a little tougher this time around. They had eight hits against Bear right-hander Morgan Manning, but they also stranded eight base runners, three of them in scoring position.
Decker pitched all seven innings for the Cougars, allowing two earned runs on just four hits, while walking one and striking out 12.
The Bears took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, catcher Amy Rogers singled and stole second base. With two outs, Manning singled up the middle to drive in Rogers and make it 1-0.
The Cougars answered right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to grab their first lead. Kaylan Shull doubled to the fence in left leading off before Decker walked and was replaced on the bases by Haley Brooks.
Jessika Young popped-up for the first out before Megan England hit a come-backer to Manning, who forced Shull at third for the second out of the inning.
Claire Crawford followed by ripping a Manning pitch to the fence down the line in left and both Brooks and England were able to scamper home, making it 2-1.
The score stayed that way until the top of the fifth, when the Bears tied things at 2-2 after two were out. Madeline Drake sent a liner into the right-field corner and she wound up at third with a triple. Rogers followed with a single up the middle to plate Rogers to tie the score.
That would be the last threat for the Bears as Decker retired the last six Bear batters in a row, three of them on strikeouts.
Decker then won the game for herself in the bottom of the seventh. Mudd reached on an error by third-baseman Kassie Phelps, then moved to second when Shull drew a walk. Decker took a first-pitch ball, then sent a rocket over the head of right-fielder Allie Howard to plate Mudd with the winning run.
The Cougars will travel to Martha Layne Collins High School, in Shelby County, this weekend to take part in the Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament.