Lady Cougars Roll Into Late Season Play

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Courtney Shepard smacks a double in recent Lady Cougars' action

The Lady Cougars have been on roll over the past month, battling to an 8-7 overall record, 7-7 in conference play, following a 1-5 start to the season.

"We've been able to turn it around, and a lot of that is due to our pitchers, Johnna Lopez and Colby Lynch," coach Lewis Earnest said. "Coming into the season, neither one of them had pitched at the high school level. They both worked hard to help this team win, and it showed as the season progressed. It was a situation where they were thrown in at the deep end, and I thought they both handled it well."

Earnest noted the team bounced back recently to secure wins they weren't able to get earlier, notably a win over 2A powerhouse Marked Tree on the road April 22. The Lady Cougars roared to a 12-7 victory behind a hit parade led by seniors Courtney Shepard and Kendal Gunn. Shepard notched three hits and three RBIs, while Gunn had three hits and drove in two.

"That was the best we've looked all season," Earnest said. "We're putting everything together at the right time. This has been the most rained-out season since I've been here, but the girls have stuck with it and are playing well right now."

Brittany Fair, Lindsey Ford, Cheyenne Ellis and Lopez added two hits each with an RBI. Lenae Haley, Lynch and Emma Hobbs added a hit each, with Haley and Lynch each plating a run.

The Lady Cougars have secured the fifth seed in the 2A-3 District Tournament set to begin today (Wednesday) at East Poinsett County in Lepanto. Rector will face Cross County at 4 p.m. A win there will advance the Lady Cougars to the second round, where they would meet Riverside at 4 p.m. Thursday with a trip to the regional tournament, starting next week at Lepanto, on the line.

"We've built some momentum, and I feel good about our chances," Earnest said. "The girls are more relaxed now and we're playing our best softball of the season. Everything's clicking at the right time."

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