By Chuck Hayes
Booneville softball coach Doc Crowley liked what he had seen last Tuesday against Waldron. After the Lady Cats had fallen behind in the sixth inning, they rallied in the bottom of the frame to tie the score on a Kaitlynn Davis two-RBI single. Then Morgan Osborne delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Booneville an important conference win over the Lady Bulldogs, 3-2.
The Lady Cats remained unbeaten in conference play at 2-0 while evening their record at 5-5 overall.
"Last year we might have folded," said Crowley. "I like the way we came off the deck."
After playing only two games in three weeks, the Lady Cats are scheduled to make up for it this week as they could play as many as eight games. After a doubleheader at Clarksville on Monday and a single game at Paris on Tuesday, Booneville travels to Fort Smith Southside to make up a game postponed from last week. The Lady Cats’ only home game this week will be an important conference matchup with Pottsville on Friday.
Then Booneville will play in the Heber Springs tournament on Saturday, opening at 10 a.m. against the host Lady Panthers. They will follow that with a game against either Class 6A Searcy or Class 5A Watson Chapel.
Booneville pitcher Ashdon Ross retired the first nine batters she faced but the Lady Cats could not break the ice against Waldron hurler Emily Black. Three BHS runners did reach on walks during that time but none got past second base. Ross pitched out of a jam in the top of the fourth with the help of Taylor Bauer’s nice catch of Black’s line drive to right field. Booneville created problems for Black with one out in the bottom of the inning as Hannah McClung singled to right, then Marissa O’Neal hit one that caromed off Black’s foot for an infield hit. Black was OK and retired the next two batters to escape any damage. Booneville again got two runners on in the bottom of the fifth as Jacque Hall dropped one into center field and Lilly Dobbs reached on an error. But the Lady Cats still could not break through.
Instead it was the Lady Bulldogs who struck in the top of the sixth as after Emily Richmond beat out an infield hit, Nikki Harrison smacked Ross’ first offering to her over the left field fence for a 2-0 Waldron lead. After Ross got out of the inning, Black was relieved by McKenna Root in the circle. But after Root walked McClung and O’Neal on nine total pitches, Black returned. Brittany Ward bunted the runners over, then Davis dropped a hit into right field, scoring both Lady Cats.
Ross set the side down in order in the top of the seventh, then Dobbs beat out an infield hit to begin the Lady Cat half of the inning. She was forced out at second but then the fleet-footed Ross stole a base. On the next pitch, Morgan Osborne ripped a line drive past the second baseman, scoring Ross without a play to end the game.
Ross scattered three hits and while her nine-game hitting streak went by the boards, she was instrumental in keeping the game close as Waldron only managed three hits. The six Booneville safeties went to six different batters. Osborne reached three times with McClung, O’Neal, Dobbs and Davis getting on base twice each as the Waldron pitchers walked five batters.