Lady Cougars Punch Their Ticket To State
In a back and forth game until the fifth inning, Rector (14-9) scored four runs to open up a close game before going on to post a 11-5 win over Cedar Ridge in the opening round of the 2A North Regional Softball Tournament, thus earning them a spot in the state tournament.
Cedar Ridge got the board first with two runs in the top of the first inning. That lead held up until the bottom of the third. Rector's bats came alive as they plated three runs to go up 3-2. Courtney Shepard started things off with an infield single before stealing second and going to third on a passed ball. Kendal Gunn scored Shepard with a double to make it 2-1 Lady Timberwolves. Johnna Lopez singled to bring in Gunn and tie the game at 2-2. Cheyenne Ellis doubled with two outs to score Lopez making it 3-2 Rector.
Cedar Ridge retook the lead at 5-3 with two runs in the top of the fourth. Rector added three more runs in the bottom half of the fourth to go up 6-5. Mikayla Arnold walked and stole second to get in scoring position for the Lady Cougars. Shepard reached on an error that allowed Arnold to score making the score 5-4 Cedar Ridge. Shepard stole second base and scored on a single by Gunn to tie the game at 5-5. Gunn took second on the throw home and scored when Lopez singled putting the Lady Cougars up 6-5.
Rector increased their lead in the bottom of the fourth with four more runs to go up 10-5. Brittany Fair crushed a solo homer to start the scoring making it 7-5 Rector. Ellis reached on an error going to second on the bad throw to first. Colby Lynch singled to score Ellis to push the Rector lead to 8-5. Arnold reached on another Cedar Ridge error allowing Lynch to score to make it 9-5 Lady Cougars. Arnold went all the way to third on the error. Matison Dean reached on a fielder's choice and scored when Gunn reached on an error to make it 10-5.
Rector added one more run in the bottom of sixth as Lindsey Ford led off with a double. Lynch's two-out single scored Ford to make it 11-5. Rector turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
Lynch got the win for Rector pitching all seven innings allowing five runs on 10 hits. She walked one and struck out four.
Gunn had three hits, two runs scored and two RBIs on the day. Lopez and Lynch finished with two hits, a run scored and two RBIs as Shepard, Fair and Lynch each had a hit, run scored and an RBI. Sheppard had two stolen bases.
Rector lost to Tuckerman 10-9 in the semifinals before falling to Marmaduke 16-5 in the consolation game.
The Lady Cougars hit the ball well against Tuckerman, but saw a late advantage disappear as miscues in the field took a toll down the stretch. RHS was in front, 9-5, going into the seventh, but Tuckerman took advantage of fielding errors to plate five runs in the inning, coming away with the win on Friday.
Mistakes continued to haunt the Lady Cougars in the consolation contest with Marmaduke Monday, as Rector fell to the rival Lady Greyhounds, 16-5, in five innings. MHS took advantage of 12 unearned runs on the afternoon to end the game early.
The Lady Cougars will be the number four seed from the north at the state tournament being held in Marked Tree, with Marmaduke earning the third seed. Rector is set to face Foreman, top seed from the south region, in opening round action at 3 p.m. Thursday. Marmaduke is set to face Woodlawn, second seed from the south, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. North champion BIC will face Murfreesboro at 10 a.m. Thursday. Tuckerman, second seed from the north, will meet Junction City at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.