Booneville LadyCat pitcher Whitney Tatum knew that she had struck out a good number of Cedarville Lady Pirates last Tuesday, but she did not know just how many. The senior struck out 20 batters in Booneville’s 4-0 conference win.
“I knew I’d struck out the side several times, but I didn’t know how many times because runners got on base,” she said.
The 20 strikeouts ties the state record for a regulation, seven-inning game which is also held by four others. The absolute record of 23 is held by Montanna Smith of Valley View, but it took her 10 innings to accomplish it. Obviously, it also breaks the school record of 18, set by Ashdon Ross against Paris last season.
Tatum struck out 10 in last Thursday’s game against Scranton, but her defense let her down as they committed five errors. The clutch batting that had become commonplace earlier in the season also went lacking Thursday, and Scranton walked out the winners 6-1.
For a pitcher to be successful, she must have a lot of trust in her catcher, and Mariah Reagan fits the bill. She and Tatum worked a lot together during the off-season and that has increased the confidence for both of them. Reagan lets few balls get by her and does whatever it takes behind the plate to help her pitcher out.
Reagan is also the hottest bat on the team right now. She has had six hits in her hast 10 at-bats and now leads the team in batting average at .467.
LadyCats 4 Cedarville 0
Booneville put one on the board in the first inning after two were out. Mariah Reagan doubled down the right field line and courtesy runner Kasidey Thompson scored on Shelby Posey’s RBI single. The LadyCats added another in the second as Baylee Moses led off with a double and advanced on Olivia Tomlin’s fly ball. Hannah Gregory then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Moses.
Whitney Tatum struck out the first six batters she faced until Breanna Reding tried to bunt her way on to lead off the third. But Tomlin was alert to the play and tossed it to Jessica Parrish covering first. Tatum then fanned the next two Lady Pirates.
After robbing both Tomlin and Moses of hits, Gracie Goines got Cedarville’s first safety leading off the fourth. The Lady Pirates subsequently loaded the bases, but Tatum struck out Haley Baker to end the threat. Cedarville also threatened in the fifth, getting runners to first and third with one out, but Tatum whiffed the next two batters.
The LadyCats added two insurance runs in the sixth. Tatum and Reagan both got singles, with Tatum going to third on a Posey flyout. Thompson took second on catcher’s indifference before AshLeah Craig swatted a single down the right-field line to score both runners. Tatum took care of the rest, striking out the last five batters she faced.
Tatum used 110 pitches (77 strikes) to get her 20 strikeouts while only allowing four hits and a walk. Reagan went 3-for-3, which gave her hits in five consecutive at-bats going back to the previous week. Craig’s two-RBI single gave the senior right fielder the lead in RBI’s this season with 14.
Scranton 6 LadyCats 1
Whitney Tatum struck out the first two batters but ran into trouble after hitting Jessica Barr with a pitch. Kristy Kohler hit a grounder that Shelby Posey fumbled, then threw past first, enabling Barr to score. Booneville avoided further problems when Kohler was thrown out at third trying to advance after another Booneville error. The bottom of the inning saw Beth Wilkinson lead off with a double, going to third when Mariah Reagan’s fly ball was dropped. But Scranton hurler Kirklyn Kremers recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
Booneville threatened again in the third; this time Bailey Denton led off with a double and got to third on a wild pitch. Tatum then walked and took second on indifference, but with two outs Posey popped up. Scranton would get two in the fifth; after an error, a walk and a wild pitch, Kohler caught a huge break when she hit a grounder that clipped the corner of the first base bag, allowing both runners to score.
The LadyCats got one of those back in the bottom of the fifth as, with two out, Wilkinson beat out an infield hit and went to second on a passed ball. After Tatum walked again, Reagan drilled one to left to score Wilkinson. But after a quiet sixth inning, Scranton went to work again. Kohler beat out an infield single and scored when Kremers roped a triple to center. The next three batters all bunted their way on, with the result that two more runs crossed the plate.
Wilkinson went 2-for-4 and Reagan picked up the only Booneville RBI of the game. Kremers only allowed the Lady Cats four hits and a walk while striking out nine; Tatum actually had more strikeouts but allowed 11 hits, and Booneville also committed five errors.