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By David Sharp
The first inning of Lewis and Clark Conference softball action at Scotland County set the tone for one of the 2021 Fall season’s highest scoring competitive games. Knox County (2-5, 1-1) sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first, scoring five runs.
Scotland County (2-4, 1-1) battled back with a six run bottom half of the first. The Lady Tigers banged out 19 runs on 21 hits unofficially for a 19-11 win over conference rival Knox County.
The Lady Tigers pretty much won the day in the field. At least one error helped open the gates on both sides in the first inning. Knox County mishandled Abby Doster’s leadoff hit in the Tiger second, allowing the runner to advance to second base.
Baila Miller put Knox County back on top with a two out, two RBI second inning hit. Brianna Miller and Taylor Walker scored on the play. Lady Tiger right fielder Lauren Triplett started a relay throw, cutting Miller down on the bases for the final out.
Knox County held what proved to be a precarious 7-6 lead entering the Scotland County second inning. Kina Billings drove Hanna Anders home with an RBI hit in the bottom of the second inning.
Lauren Triplett stroked a one out, two run hit for a 9-7 Scotland County edge after two full innings. Jen Hinkle singled with two out in the KCHS third. Daniela Dooley lofted a liner to the outfield.
The ball was mishandled, allowing Hinkle to score for a 9-8 Tiger lead. Scotland County responded when Hanna Feeney doubled with one out in the bottom of the third. Hanna Anders scored Feeney with an RBI double for a 10-8 lead for the home team after three innings.
Taylor Walker led off the KCHS fourth with a hit. Bailey Bowen and Abby Becker had RBI hits during the Knox County fourth inning. Lauren Triplett reached base leading off the Tiger fourth. Hanna Feeney belted a two run, two out RBI hit for a 12-9 Scotland County advantage after four complete innings.
Kina Billings pitched around an error, allowing Jen Hinkle to reach base leading off the KC fifth inning. Brianna Miller walked. Knox County advanced the runners to second and third base.
Knox County was unable to score in their fifth and sixth innings. Kina Billings plated Hanna Anders in the SC fifth. Scotland County opened up a more comfortable lead with a six run, four hit sixth inning.
Hanna Anders had a two run base hit. Kina Billings singled home another run. Baileigh Phillips and Lauren Triplett scored on wild pitches for the 19-10 lead heading to the seventh inning.
Jen Hinkle led off with a Knox County double. Daniela Dooley drove Hinkle home with a hit. Scotland County was able to get the final three outs for the 19-11 win. Knox County scored 11 runs on 23 hits.
Jen Hinkle led the way for the visiting Lady Eagles with a 5-5 day with three runs scored officially. Daniela Dooley was 4-5 with a run scored and three batted in. Abby Becker was 3-4 with two Eagle RBI’s
Daniela Dooley pitched five and a third innings for Knox County, taking the loss in the circle. Dooley struck out two with one walk on 18 hits. Jen Hinkle pitched the final 2/3 inning with two walks and one run allowed.
“We have to make the plays defensively,” Knox County coach Lauren Dale said. “We have to find a way to back our pitchers up. They are doing their job. When balls are hit at us, we have to make plays on them.”
“We are letting too many balls drop. We have to go after them,” Lauren Dale said. “I have been saying all year that we are going to be a team that puts up runs. We are a very fortunate team to have the offense that we have.”
“I think we are going to continue to grow,” Coach Dale said. “I think we are going to get better. I look forward to it. We have to start figuring out our defense. The girls are ready, and they know that.”
Scotland County scored 19 runs on 25 hits. Hanna Feeney was 4-5 at the plate with three runs scored and two driven in. Hannah Anders was 3-4 with two runs scored. Baleigh Phillips and Kina Billings went 4-5 with three runs scored each. Billings drove in four Scotland County runs.
Lauren Triplett went 3-4 with three runs scored and three more batted in. Hanna Anders pitched the first two inning, picking up the win. Anders struck out one with one walk on seven runs and 12 hits.
Kina Billings went the final five innings in the Scotland County circle. Billings struck out six batters with two walks on 11 hits. Four runs were charged to the Lady Tiger reliever.
”We have been doing that all year,” Scotland County coach Riley Lucas said in response to a reporter’s inquiry about the sheer number of hard hit balls off Tiger bats in this contest.
“We have been hitting them right at people,” Coach Lucas said. “We could easily be a 5-1 team right now. We could have easily gave up after the first inning. But we didn’t. We gave up five runs. That’s hard to battle back from.”
“We hit the ball up and down the lineup,” Riley Lucas said. “We had several hits. We had a couple of doubles out of the three hole tonight. They hit the ball good too. Hopefully we can use that and get going. That is a good ball club too.”
“They placed that ball perfect in the first inning. I was not comfortable with a nine run lead in the seventh the way they were hitting the ball.”