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Lady Cougars Fall In Conference Opener
By Chris Heimer
The Highland Lady Cougar Softball Team fell to 2-1 (0-1 in the Clarence Cannon Conference) after a heartbreaking 5-3 loss to the Centralia Lady Panthers. The Lady Panthers jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after a half inning thanks to a lead off single by Mallory Henry. Erin VanMaanen followed her with a triple that scored Henry, Jordyn Tolliver then doubled to score VanMaanen. A wild pitch allowed Tolliver to move to third and she later scored when Felicia McCann stuck out but had to be thrown out at first to complete the out.
The Lady Cougars threatened in the bottom of the first thanks to a lead off single by Jessica Murfin and then a one out single by Samantha Murfin put runners on first and second but VanMaanen retired the next two batters to end the Lady Cougars threat.
The score remand 3-0 until the bottom of the third when the Lady Cougars scored three times to tie the game at 3-3. Adrien Myers lead off the bottom of the third with a walk. Jessica Murfin singled and Amanda Hinkle laid down a perfect bunt and beat the thrown to first to load the bases for Samantha Murfin who came through with a two RBI single allowing Hinkle to go to third and Samantha Murfin to move up to second on the throw to third. After VanMaanen struck out the next batter, Emily Shy grounded out to second allowing Hinkle to score and S. Murfin moved up to third with two and was stranded there.
After giving up three runs in the third VanMaanen settled down and retired the last 15 batters she faced. Coach Scifres said, “She settled down after Samantha got that hit off of her and I think she was throwing harder as the game went along because we had a harder time getting around on her and it seemed like everything we hit went to the opposite field.”
The score remained tied until the top of the seventh when the Lady Panthers scored two unearned runs to give them a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh were the Lady Cougars went quietly to give the Lady Panthers a 5-3 conference win. VanMaanen lead off the seventh inning with a ground ball to shortstop, but Samantha Murfin bobbled it and rushed her throw, resulting in an error allowing VanMaanen to take second base. Tolliver ripped the first pitch she saw into leftfield and it one hopped the fence for a ground rule double scoring VanMaanen after a one out single moved Tolliver to third she would score on a ground out by pinch hitter Caitlin Jerome to give the Lady Panthers a 5-3 lead and their final margin of victory.
“I think Samantha just rushed her throw not realizing she had as much time as she did, she will make that play nine times out of ten. Jessica settled down after the first inning and did a good job,” Coach Scifres said.
Jessica Murfin and Samantha Murfin were both two for four with Samantha having two RBI’s. Jessica Murfin took the loss making her record 2-1 on the young season. She pitched all seven innings giving up 11 hits, striking out five, walking two, and she gave up five runs, with only three of them were earned.
Jordyn Tolliver led the Lady Panthers by going three for four with two doubles and two RBI’s including the game winning RBI in the top of the seventh. Erin VanMaanen picked up the win going all seven innings allowing five hits, striking out 10, walking only one, and giving up three runs.