Softball made its return to the Billy Kiersey Complex last Thursday in the form of two scrimmages between non-school teams from Booneville and Paris.
Booneville seniors Baylee Moses and Shelby Posey, as well as the seniors from Paris, were honored beforehand, and then the teams played out two competitive and entertaining scrimmages.
The first matchup became a compelling pitcher’s duel between Booneville’s Brooke Turner and Paris’s Jadyn Hart. While both teams had chances to score during the regulation five innings, the two hurlers were able to get out of jams.
Booneville had the first chance in the bottom of the first, when Layla Byrum got an infield hit and after a walk to Turner, took third on a passed ball. But Hart struck out Joleigh Tate to end the threat.
The Booneville squad got another baserunner in the second inning when Teagen McMaster dropped one behind the Paris first baseman-the only ball to leave the infield in the entire game-but again Hart pitched her way out of trouble.
Turner mowed down the first 13 Paris batters in order; meanwhile Booneville threatened again in the third inning as Byrum again reached third after an infield single, a stolen base and a passed ball. Hart, however, struck out Posey and Turner to end the inning, then had a perfect fourth inning, striking out three Booneville batters on nine pitches.
When Jadyn Hart came back to bat with one out in the fifth — Paris coach Donald Hart opted to let all of his players bat before the top of the order came back up — she beat out a bunt. After the next batter was retired, Hart stole second and then Booneville coach Ronnie Denton called for an intentional walk to Jayden Wells. That paid off when Turner got Celsi Haller to hit a soft line drive to Brylee Washburn at first after Hart and Wells had executed a double steal.
Booneville threatened to win it in the bottom of that inning as Sara Ulmer reached on an error and Moses bunted her way on. They also pulled off a double steal, but Hart struck out Byrum and got Posey to hit a ground ball back to her.
The coaches agreed to play a tie breaking inning. With Celsi Haller on second, Turner struck out Ryleigh Oates after the latter unsuccessfully tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Celsi Haller tried to take third after a pitch to Caiden Haller briefly evaded Tate, but the Booneville catcher threw to Posey for the out. Turner then struck out Caiden Haller.
Posey was on second to start the bottom of the inning and was sacrificed to third by Turner. Leigh Swint was intentionally walked and after Hart struck out Tate, Washburn, with an 0-2 count, rifled a hard grounder down the first base line which was mishandled. Fittingly, it was a senior, Posey, who scored the winning run.
Turner struck out seven Paris batters while allowing only one hit and did not allow a ball out of the infield. Of her 61 pitches, 43 were strikes and she got the first pitch in for a strike nearly 90% of the time. Hart struck out 15, including six in a row at one point, and she had 61 strikes in 92 pitches. She allowed only one ball to be hit out of the infield, which was McMaster’s single.
The second scrimmage, which saw Booneville playing a mix of varsity and JV players, was scoreless after three innings as Booneville’s Emily Suttles and Elizabeth Greek, who pitched for Magazine last season, matched zeros. Paris had the best chance as, with a runner on second in the second inning, the batter got a base hit to center field. But Swint, who is expected to take over for the graduated Moses in that position, came up throwing and fired a strike to McMaster to retire the runner.
Paris was the designated home team in the second scrimmage, and in the top of the fourth Booneville came up with four runs. Ryleigh Love’s two-RBI single was the key hit, and the other runs scored on a passed ball and a groundout by Sarah Grissom.
But it was far from over as Paris got three in their half of that evening. Jadyn Hart delivered a two-RBI double off Bella Crabtree and was driven in by a Wells single. After Crabtree walked the next batter to load the bases, Lexi Franklin, who had just arrived from practice with her travel team, was called upon and she pitched her way out of the jam.
Franklin led off the next inning and drew a walk from Greek. She worked her way around to third with two out and then Swint hit a liner that glanced off Greek’s glove. It remained in the infield, but Jadyn Hart was unable to throw Swint out.
That gave Booneville a 5-3 lead and it turned out the insurance run was needed because Karsen Hart, after getting her second hit of the game and advancing on a walk, stole third and home. With a runner on second and two out, Franklin got the next Paris batter to ground out to Megan Reid at second.
The Booneville non-school team will again be in action tomorrow (Thursday) at the Billy Kiersey Complex, when they will take on Franklin‘s travel team, Riptide.