It was business as usual in the first game of Booneville’s softball doubleheader with Paris, but in the second game, as well as against Charleston the next day, fielding errors reared their head. Three errors in the second Paris game and four against the Lady Tigers led to second chances which both teams took advantage of. Also in each case, last ditch LadyCat rallies came up short resulting in the first two conference losses for BHS since the end of the 2015 season.
But there is reason for optimism still. Some bats are getting hot, none more than that of freshman Shelby Posey. She was 5-for-9 in the three games, including a home run against Charleston, which was the first round-tripper by a LadyCat freshman since 2013.
LadyCats 2-4 Paris 0-5
Each team got a runner on in each of the first two innings of the first game but could not capitalize. In the top of the third, Paris loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks, but Whitney Tatum induced Macey Hurt to pop up and struck out Olivia Henderson. Tatum then helped herself in the bottom of the inning; after Beth Wilkinson had reached on a Paris error, Tatum doubled off the wall in center. Mariah Reagan followed with her own double down the left-field line to make it 2-0. From there, Tatum allowed only one Lady Eagle to reach base the rest of the game.
Tatum gave up only one hit and struck out seven; Paris hurler Sydney Ward did well also, allowing just three base hits.
In the second game, Paris struck first without benefit of a hit. Lexy Lee walked and then two Paris fly balls were dropped to make it 1-0. Booneville, the designated visiting team in the game, quickly responded in the top of the second. Shelby Posey singled and was forced by Callie Smith before Baylee Moses ripped a double to left for an RBI. She then stole third and came in on a wild pitch.
But the Lady Eagles struck for four in their half of the inning. Lee roped a two-RBI triple to right and then Ward helped herself with a double. A ground ball then got through Posey for an error, scoring the Paris courtesy runner. Booneville threatened in their half of the third inning, with a Wilkinson single being followed by an error on the Paris shortstop, but Posey was robbed of a possible two-RBI hit by a nice catch by the Paris second baseman.
The LadyCats rallied in their half of the fifth inning; Wilkinson singled and Tatum walked before Posey delivered a two-RBI double to make it a one-run game. However, Ward got Smith to pop out to end the game. Freshmen Posey and Moses each had two hits, as did Wilkinson, and the LadyCats stole three bases in the game.
Charleston 8 LadyCats 6
It looked as if Whitney Tatum would escape the first inning unscathed as, with two on and two outs, Charleston’s Emma McKinney grounded to third. But Beth Wilkinson fumbled it and then threw the ball past Olivia Tomlin at first, with both runners scoring. McKinney struck again in the third, delivering a two-RBI single.
Booneville threatened in the fourth inning on singles by AshLeah Craig and Bailey Denton, but Charleston hurler Lacey McKenzie got out of the jam. But in the next inning, Wilkinson singled to left field and Shelby Posey walloped a McKenzie pitch over the fence in right-center. Mariah Reagan then doubled, but McKenzie escaped further problems.
Charleston looked to put it away in the seventh, scoring four times. Stormy French beat out an infield hit and after another single, a dropped fly ball resulted in two runs. Two more runs came in on Lady Tiger hits, capped by McKinney’s RBI double for 8-2.
But Booneville came off the deck. Wilkinson took the first McKenzie offering of the seventh inning off the center field wall for a double and Posey singled her home. Tatum then hit a grounder to the shortstop but the Charleston second baseman dropped the throw and everyone was safe. Reagan then slowly grounded to third, but Posey had already passed when the Lady Tiger third baseman fielded the ball. This loaded the bases and Craig promptly drove in two runs with a looping liner that dropped in right field. Baylee Moses accounted for another RBI with a ground ball, but McKenzie then settled down and got the last two batters.
Posey had three RBIs and Craig two, while Wilkinson reached base all four times she batted on three hits and an error. Tatum struck out 10 in a losing effort. For Charleston, McKenzie got seven strikeouts as French was 3-for-3 and McKinney had three RBIs.