Wins had been coming rather easily for the Booneville LadyCats, so what they would do when faced with adversity had largely yet to be tested. Last Monday they gave up a 4-1 lead against Mansfield in the top of the seventh and were down to their final out with nobody on base.
But the team came roaring off the deck, got four consecutive hits, and when Keara Ross plated Baylee Moses with a single, the LadyCats could claim the 6-5 win.
The LadyCats then played a doubleheader against Two Rivers on Friday and in each game they used a big inning to put the game away. The first game saw Booneville break a close game open, largely due to an in-the-park grand slam off the bat of Brooklyn Zarlingo, and take the 18-4 win. In game two, the LadyCats got another in-the-park dinger, this time by Shelby Posey, as part of an 11-run third inning to support Zarlingo’s shutout pitching in a 12-0 win.
With the victories, the LadyCats assumed the conference lead. Games against Lamar and Charleston were rained out last week; Booneville (6-1, 4-0) returns to action next Monday with a home game against Charleston.
LadyCats 6 Mansfield 5
Mansfield got runners to second and third in the first inning but starter Brooke Turner got out of the jam, and the LadyCats soon had a 2-0 lead thanks to Shelby Posey, who drilled a Caroline Nicodemus offering over the fence in right-center field. She drove in Baylee Moses, who had singled. Mansfield scored in the fourth inning but Booneville got that run back in the fifth as Joleigh Tate tripled to right and came home on a Haley Gray single.
Booneville added another in the sixth as Posey, Turner and Tate strung singles with Tate picking up the RBI. But Mansfield fired back with four in their half of the seventh to take the lead. Maggie Strunk drove in Kylie Eveld, who had tripled. Rylea Weaver walked but Nicodemus then forced Strunk out at third. Shyann McDowell picked up an RBI with a single, another run scored on a bad throw, and Maegan Cox drove in the final run to put the Lady Tigers ahead.
Nicodemus then retired the first two LadyCats in the bottom of the seventh and faced Brooklyn Zarlingo, who was 0-for-3 on the day. But BZ smacked one through the middle and Moses followed with a similar hit. Posey drove in Zarlingo with a single to tie it and then Keara Ross rocketed a line drive to right center to bring home Moses with the winning run. Posey was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored while Ross, Tate and Moses had two hits apiece.
LadyCats 18 Two Rivers 4 (1st game)
The Lady Gators scored first but Booneville got two without a hit in the bottom of the inning. They loaded the bases as Brooklyn Zarlingo and Shelby Posey each walked, and in between Baylee Moses had been hit by a pitch. Another walk, this time to Keara Ross, forced in the first run and the second came in on Brooke Turner’s groundout. BHS picked up two more in the second as Kasidey Thompson and Zarlingo, after walking, both scored on wild pitches.
TR got those two back in the top of the third but Booneville put it away in their half of the inning. Turner, Haley Gray and Thompson all singled and Hannah Gregory drove in the first run with a hit. Zarlingo then sliced a 2-1 pitch down the first-base line and into the corner and was able to circle the bases without a play, the first Booneville in-the-park homer since Lexi Ross in 2016 and the first home run, and grand slam, of her career. Posey restarted the parade with a single and Ross tripled her home. Turner got the next RBI and after Tate reached on an error, Gray plated two with a single and the final run came in on a wild pitch.
After Two Rivers scored once in the fourth the LadyCats put up four more. A walk to Zarlingo and a hit by Posey started it; the runners advanced on a wild pitch and Keara Ross picked up both runners with a single. Turner followed with another hit and ended up chasing her teammate across the plate when the ball got by the left fielder. Zarlingo both drove in and scored four runs; Turner was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Keara Ross, Posey, Gray and Thompson each had a two-hit game.
LadyCats 12 Two Rivers 0 (2nd game)
Neither team was able to score in the first two innings of the second game, in which Two Rivers was the designated home team. Brooklyn Zarlingo put the first run on the board in the top of the third after she singled, stole two bases and scored on a wild pitch.
The LadyCats then ripped TR for 11 fourth-inning runs. Brooke Turner started it with a single; she stole a base and advanced on a ground ball. A hit by Haley Gray moved her to third and then a Kasidey Thompson bunt single loaded the bases. Zarlingo forced home Turner with a walk; Gray scored on a passed ball and Baylee Moses picked up two more with a single before Shelby Posey flared one over the right fielder and was able to make it all the way around.
Keara Ross had a single to start things again and stole a base before Turner just missed a home run, settling for an RBI double. Joleigh Tate singled her home and after Gray walked, Thompson slapped one up the middle for two RBIs. She was able to make it all the way home with the final run after Hannah Gregory’s fly ball was dropped.
Meanwhile, Zarlingo was efficient in the circle, allowing only two hits while striking out four. Posey, Turner and Thompson each had two hits for Booneville, with four different players scoring two runs each.