Softball and Baseball Update

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Lady Mohawk Devyn Staples, picturing during a recent practice, had a huge game on the mound and at the plate in the Tribe's recent win over Manila.

Both the Cougars and the Mohawks have gotten their 2014 softball and baseball campaigns underway with success.

Lady Cougars

The Lady Cougar softball team opened their season with a come-from-behind 16-13 win over Trumann March 13 in Rector.

Trumann started strong, plating 13 runs in the first inning, as Rector looked to find its softball rhythm.

Rector scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Courtney Shepard singled to bring in Kendal Gunn and Lindsey Ford. Later, pitcher Colby Lynch doubled to bring home Shepard and Brittany Fair.

Rector scored nine runs in the second frame. Johnna Lopez, Emma Hobbs, Shepard and Lenae Haley each drove in runs with clutch hitting, closing the gap to just two runs, 13-11.

The Lady Cougars tied the game at 13-13 in the bottom of the fifth frame. Gunn started with a single, and then stole second. Lopez, who took over on the mound in the top of the inning, doubled to bring Gunn home. Lindsey Ford singled to bring Lopez around to score and tie the contest.

Trumann added a run in the top of the sixth, but the Lady Cougars would roar back.

Lynch and Cheyenne Ellis started the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back singles. A double from Gunn brought both runners home safely, putting Rector in front, 15-14. Gun would reach home on a passed ball to make it 16-14.

Lopez struck out the first two batters in the top of the seventh. The game ended with a ground-out to first.

"We're happy to start with a win," head coach Lewis Earnest said. "With the weather and most of the girls just coming off of basketball, we haven't been able to practice as much as I would like, so it's good to get an early win. We hit the ball well, and although we gave up 14 runs, I thought Colby and Johnna did well on the mound."

The Lady Cougars were downed in action with Riverside Monday, falling 6-0.

Rector managed just two hits on the cold, windy afternoon.

"We never got into any kind of groove," Earnest said. "Our bats were silent. It was one of those games, and we have to put it behind us and move on."

The Lady Cougars are slated to visit EPC at Lepanto Thursday.

Lady Mohawks

Despite battling the weather for days, the Lady Mohawks kicked-off their 2014 season last week, playing a five-inning practice game against Greene County Tech on Tuesday, and then splitting a conference double-header at Harrisburg on Thursday, March 13. They Tribe then extended their season, and conference record to 2-1 Tuesday, March 18 with a 10-8 eight-inning win at Manila over the Lady Lions.

The practice game on March 11 was played at Rotary Park in Paragould went to the Lady Eagles by a final of 11-7. And, although it didn't count in the season record it did provide the young squad needed game experience.

Harrisburg

The Tribe put the game experience garnered against GCT into play on Thursday afternoon, as they traveled to Harrisburg for a conference twin-bill with the Lady Hornets.

In the first contest the Lady Mohawks came out sluggish, and dropped a 12-2 decision. But, in the nightcap the Mohawk bats came to life as they took the game by a final of 6-5.

On the day freshman Grayson Murray had the hot bat, going 5 for 5 as the two teams split the pair. Murray also accounted for three of the team's eight doubles on the day.

Pitcher Devyn Staples also had a strong game at the plate in the second contest, going 3 for 3 with a double. Also producing for the Tribe in the season's first win were Taylor Davis and Shelby Morgan, as they both went 2 for 3 with a double each, while Melinda Blackmon was 1 for 2 and also carded a double in the victory.

With conference games against Hoxie and Osceola already postponed due to winter weather, the Lady Mohawks switched the home games scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, to Manila.

Much of the credit for the win goes to Devyn Staples, who fanned seven of the Lady Lions in getting the win while going 3 for 5 at the plate. Senior Kacey Crossfield also had a 3 for 5 performance. Also stepping up was MaKalia Beck, who tied the game in the top of the seventh with a two-run double. The Tribe tacked on two more in the top of the eighth inning to preserve the win.

Meanwhile, Lady Mohawk Coach Nikki Speer is working to make-up the games postponed from earlier in the season, and hoped to be able to host one of the re-scheduled games early next week. The week of March 24 to 29 had been reserved for spring break, but due to the change in the school calendar cutting the break to just Thursday and Friday other make-up games are likely.

The Tribe is currently scheduled to play in a tournament at Rivercrest on Saturday, March 29. And will host Armorel on Monday, March 31 and visit Campbell on Tuesday, April 1. The Lady Bobcats of Corning are then slated to visit Independence Park on Thursday, April 3 in conference play.

Cougar Baseball

The Cougars have started baseball season with a 2-1 opening, topping Riverside and Corning out of the gate.

Rector gained their second win of the young season with an 18-17 win over Corning in a slugfest Friday.

The Cougar offense was led by strong performances by Garrett Buck, 3-5 with 2 RBIs; Josh Loveless, 2-5 with 3 RBIs; Nick Hardin 3-5 with an RBI and Lawson Ford, 2-5 with 2 RBIs.

Brian Hufty got the win for the Cougars, coming on in relief in the fifth inning. Hardin came in to work the final third of the seventh, earning the save.

"We looked good swinging the bat, but we need more consistency across the board," head coach Nate Henderson said. "It's still early, but we're doing some good things right now. One thing I really like is that we're not striking out very often; we're putting the ball in play. If we can keep doing that and get a little more confident on the mound, we'll be in good shape."

The Cougars dropped an 11-7 decision to McCrory this past Thursday in Rector.

Hardin took the loss on the mound, allowing five earned runs in three innings.

Rector opened with a 7-2 victory over Riverside March 11. Alec Scott picked up the win on the mound, working four innings in relief. Scott gave up a run on two hits while ringing up two and walking one.

The Cougars are set to host BIC beginning at 4 p.m. Friday. Rector will visit Corning beginning at 4 p.m. March 28 for varsity and junior high play.

Mohawk Baseball

The Piggott Mohawks finally avoided snow and sleet long enough to kick-off their 2014 campaign on Tuesday, March 11 as they traveled to Hoxie and took a 6-3 conference win over the Mustangs. But, Thursday's home set with Osceola was postponed due to field conditions, so the Mohawks traveled to Blytheville on Friday, March 14 and dropped an 8-4 non conference game to the Chicks.

Tuesday, March 18 the Mohawk's home games with Harrisburg were postponed due to the field, and the Tribe will instead visit the Hornets this Friday, March 21 for a double-header beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Hoxie

The Mohawks jumped on the Mustangs early in their contest last week, plating three runs in the first inning, and rode their hosts to the win. Nick McKinnie got on base three times on the game, as five members of the Mohawks each carded a single. Meanwhile, Mason Rahn was strong on the mound, allowing three runs over the full seven innings on six hits, while walking just two of the Mustangs and striking out 10. Raby took the loss for Hoxie, allowing five runs and walking six Mohawks in just three and two-thirds innings.

The Tribe added another run early, and took a 4-0 lead into the home half of the third. Hoxie then pushed their first run across to make it 4-1, but Rahn effectively shut down the rally as he got Raby to fly out to end the inning.

The Mohawks added another run in the fourth inning, as Andrew Roberts drove McKinnie in to make it 5-1. The Mustangs responded in the home half of the inning with a run of their own to cut it to a tally of 5-2, but Rahn again ended the threat as he got Cook to strike out to kill the rally.

The Tribe scored their final run in the seventh, and the Mustangs tacked on another late run but it had no impact on the outcome. In their 25 trips to the plate the Mohawks also drew eight walks, three of those by McKinnie. Hitting singles were Rahn, Roberts, Garrett Cook, Trace Stallings and Noah May. McKinnie scored two of the Tribe's runs, while the other four were scored Roberts, Cook, Austin Murray and Bret Fuller.

Blytheville

Despite a big game from Andrew Roberts, the Mohawks fell to non-conference Blytheville 8 to 4 in five innings on Friday, March 14. Roberts had a big day at the plate, singling in the first inning and doubling in the fifth, as he went 2 for 3 while driving in one run and scoring another.

Austin Murray worked on the mound for the Tribe and took the loss, as he allowed all eight of the Chick's runs in third innings while fanning one and walking two. Draughs notched the win for the Blytheville squad, Mohawk Coach Shawn Hearn's alma mater, and he fanned 10 while giving up eight hits to the Tribe and walking two.

Murray did get off to a good start at the plate, reaching on a single and later scoring the first run on singles by Roberts and Mason Rahn. But, the Chicks held the Mohawks to the single run, and tied the game in the home half of the inning on an RBI single by Pruett.

The Blytheville squad broke the game open in the second, scoring six runs on three doubles and an RBI single by Washington. They added another in the fourth.

The Mohawks did make a late rally, plating three runs in the top of the fifth inning, sparked by an RBI double by Roberts and followed by an RBI single by Cook and an RBI double by Fuller. But, Draughs was able to get Celeston Haywood to fly-out to end the threat.

Following Friday's double header at Harrisburg the Tribe is slated to travel to Rivercrest on Monday, March 24 for a conference game with the Colts. Afterward, the schedule is uncertain, as the Mohawks will be trying to make up several games in the week to come. They're also slated to take part in the Duel on the Diamond at Paragould on April 3 to 5.

Changes and updates to the schedule may be found at cctimesdemocrat.com or by visiting the Mohawk Bullpen Club facebook page.

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