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By Corey Stott
MEMPHIS, Mo.- 8/30/21- Things just felt right to Lady Tigers (1-0) head softball coach Riley Lucas last Monday night. Compared to the weird way that 2020 played out with the pandemic and such, he said it felt more like a normal season opener. “We got to take players to the coaches’ conference this time,” Lucas said. “They had taken from them last year with all the restrictions.” Things continued to feel right as the Lady Tigers overpowered the Novinger Lady Wildcats (0-1) by a score of 15-0 in three innings by virtue of the 15- run mercy rule.
After retiring Novinger in order in the top of the first, the Lady Tigers capitalized on a pair of errors, a passed ball and a hit by pitch to score the first run of the game. Scotland County kept their foot on the gas and put up a monster 13-run inning in the bottom of the first.
Both teams went scoreless in the second before Scotland got the necessary two runs to invoke the mercy rule in the bottom of the third. A Hannah Feeney line drive set up the final scores of the game.
Baileigh Phillips, Caelin Robinson and Kara Mallett each had a hit in the game. Phillips, Robinson and Mallett also had a pair of RBIs apiece. Ten Novinger errors contributed heavily to the Lady Tigers’ scoring assault. Scotland played a relatively clean game with only one error.
Kina Billings got the start and the win for Scotland County. She pitched 3 complete innings with a strikeout and only one hit allowed. Zoe O’Neal got the start and the loss for Novinger. She worked the full 2 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and five walks with no strikeouts and 15 runs, all unearned.
Asked what positives he can take from this lopsided game, Coach Lucas said “We scored 13 runs because we hit the ball hard in play.” Asked for things to improve upon, he observed “We need to work on our signs and be a little more aggressive with our base running. Against a team like this, we should have been more aggressive with our baserunning.”