At the beginning of the season there was some question whether the LadyCat softball team would have success on a consistent basis.
Fast forward three weeks and it appears that Booneville, despite losing a number of talented players, has simply reloaded.
The LadyCats (5-2, 3-0 conference) came from behind to down Mansfield last Monday before beating Cedarville Tuesday and Scranton Thursday. They are getting offensive production all the way through their lineup and pitcher Whitney Tatum has been overpowering, striking out 38 batters in three games while allowing only one earned run.
Beth Wilkinson has one of the hot bats; the junior had five RBI’s in her last two games to take over the team lead in that department with 8. But for average, no one has been hotter than Tatum, who batted .727 this week to raise her season average to .609.
The LadyCats’ first game after spring break will be against a very good Dardanelle team on Monday, followed by a trip to Waldron the next day.
LadyCats 6 Mansfield 3
Both teams mounted threats in each of the first two innings, but neither was able to score, with Whitney Tatum getting out of jams via strikeouts. The LadyCats broke through in the third; Bailey Denton got a one-out single and advanced on a wild pitch. After another out, Tatum brought her in with a single. She stole second and Mariah Reagan delivered the second run with a hit to right.
Mansfield tied it in the fourth inning without benefit of a hit, with a walk to Rylea Weaver being followed by a throwing error which allowed her to score from first on the ball hit by Shyann McDowell. The batter went to third and scored on a ground out. The Lady Tigers then took the lead in their half of the fifth with Kyli Davidson’s triple bringing home McDowell, who had singled and advanced on an error.
But in their half of the sixth, the LadyCats responded. Tatum tied the score with her—and the LadyCats’—first home run of the season, a shot that easily cleared the center-field fence. Reagan then drew a walk and Olivia Tomlin bunted her way on. Beth Wilkinson’s bunt was then thrown away by the Mansfield catcher, allowing two runs to score and Wilkinson to take third. She eventually came in when the third baseman fumbled AshLeah Craig’s grounder. Tatum easily took care of the Lady Tigers in the seventh with two strikeouts and a tap right back to her.
Tatum finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs while striking out 13. Denton also had two hits and Reagan reached base all three times she batted.
LadyCats 9 Cedarville 0
After Whitney Tatum pitched around a hit and a walk in the Cedarville first inning, Booneville struck for three. Bailey Denton’s leadoff walk was followed by a Brooklyn May infield hit and Tatum’s RBI single. Shelby Posey later singled to score May and Tatum touched the plate on a wild pitch. Booneville added two more in the third as Tatum and Mariah Reagan each singled. Shelby Posey bunted them over and Beth Wilkinson delivered a two-RBI single, scoring Tatum and courtesy runner Baylee Moses.
Denton did it all by herself in the fourth inning as with two out, she blooped a double to right and advanced on an errant Lady Pirate throw, scoring on a wild pitch. Tatum led off the fifth with a hit to center; two outs later Wilkinson singled and Hannah Gregory’s infield hit loaded the bases before AshLeah Craig drove one to left field for two RBIs. Denton added the final run in the sixth, scoring on a throwing error after a single and stolen base.
Tatum was 3-for-4 and struck out 15 Lady Pirates while only giving up three hits, while Denton was 2-for-2 with three runs scored and Wilkinson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. The LadyCats amassed 13 hits in the game.
LadyCats 6 Scranton 2
Both teams mounted serious threats in the first two innings, getting runners to third, but neither could close the deal. Booneville broke through with four in the third; Whitney Tatum got a one-out single and advanced on a wild pitch preceding a walk to Mariah Reagan. A Shelby Posey single loaded the bases before both Beth Wilkinson and Jessica Parrish roped two-RBI singles.
Scranton got one back with the aid of a Booneville error in the fourth, then in the fifth the Lady Rockets ended a Tatum streak of 29 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run as a Jessica Barr single plated Rachel Siebenmorgen, who had walked and advanced on a wild pitch.
But Reagan beat out an infield hit to start the Booneville seventh inning and Baylee Moses ran for her. Following a Posey sacrifice bunt, Wilkinson lashed a 3-2 pitch from Kirklyn Kremers to the right-field gap for a triple. Kremers then unleashed a wild pitch and the speedy Wilkinson came plateward with the final run.
Tatum was 3-for-4 and struck out 10 while Wilkinson drove in three runs, taking her average up to .389. Parrish had her first two hits of the season and drove in two runs.