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Lady Cougars Take Second at the North Shelby Tournament
By Chris Heimer
Coming off a wild 12-inning 9-8 victory over the Clark County Lady Indians the Lady Cougars extended their winning streak to five games before falling to Bevier 8-1 in the Championship game of the North Shelby Softball Tournament. The loss gives the Lady Cougars a record of 8-3 on the season.
The Lady Cougars opened the tournament by defeating the Linn County Lady Mustangs 5-1 on the strength of a dominant pitching performance by Samantha Murfin who gave up one unearned run on one hit. The Lady Cougars scored a run in the bottom of the second when Ashley Runquist got hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a hit by Emily Sly and scored as Emily moved up to second and the third baseman threw the ball into right field.
The Lady Cougars added four more runs in the fourth inning when Samantha Murfin and Kalyn Lay led off with back-to-back singles and Ashley Runquist reached on an error to load the bases. Ashlan Knoche then walked to score S. Murfin. Emily Sly then hit a sacrifice fly to score Kalyn Lay, Runquist and Knoche moved up on the throw to the plate. Margo Myers then laid down a bunt single that scored Runquist and moved Knoche to third. Ashlan would later score when an errant pick off throw hit her in the back and skipped away from the third baseman. The Mustangs got a run in the fifth when the lead off hitter reached on an error and later scored on a single.
In the second game against the Paris Lady Coyotes, the Lady Cougars walked away with a 2-1 win as Emily Sly scored on a walk-off error. The Lady Coyotes scored their run in the third inning with one out they got three hits in a row to load the bases.
Jessica Murfin battled back and struck out the next batter and when it looked like she was going to get out of the jam with a ground ball to second base the ball took a hop and bounced away from Ashlan Knoche for an error allowing a run to score J. Murfin struck out the next batter to end the inning.
The Lady Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Samantha Murfin walked to lead off the inning. Kalyn Lay laid down a sacrifice bunt moving S. Murfin to second. After a ground out Ashlan Knoche stepped up and made up for her error hitting a double down the right field line that allowed S. Murfin to score and tie the game at one. “Ashlan hit the ball hard, we had a few balls that were hit hard this game, but Ashlan’s’ hit was the big hit that made it 1-1,” Coach Scifres said. The score remained that way until the bottom of the seventh when Emily Sly lead off with a walk. Chelsea Brennan then laid down a sacrifice but Emily didn’t stop at second she made it all the way to third on the play.
Coach Scifres said, “We used some aggressive base running to get to third in that situation and then score on the throwing error by the catcher.” With Margo Myers up and a one ball two strike count the catcher tried to pick Emily off of third and the throw went into left field and Emily beat the left fielders throw to the plate to give the Lady Cougars a 2-1 victory and a chance at the championship.
In the championship team the Lady Cougars ran into a very good Bevier team that had beat the host school North Shelby 1-0 and Mart Twain 5-1 to advance to the championship game. Bevier got on the board first thanks to a two out single that was followed by a double to give them a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Cougars scored in the fourth when Samantha Murfin reached on an error. She then stole second and advanced to third when the catcher’s throw went into centerfield and scored as the centerfielders throw back into the infield was off-line. Bevier added an other two out run in the fifth when their lead off hitter reached on an error with two outs and that was followed by an other double. Bevier blew the game open in the seventh by putting six runs on the board with the help of two Lady Cougars errors that prolonged the inning.
“Defensively we didn’t play very well, we gave them several outs, and we have to make those plays, if we are going to be competitive with teams we play in postseason and today we just didn’t get the job done.”
The Lady Cougars only hit came in the seventh when Ashley Runquist led off with a double, but was stranded on third to end the game. “We had a lot of strike outs today (30 of the Lady Cougars 57 outs were strike outs in the three games) and that is something we have been telling the girls we need to get a way from, a lot of good things can happen when you put the ball in play and we didn’t do a very good job of that today,” Coach Scifres said.
Samantha Murfin picked up the win in the first game allowing one unearned run on one hit, while striking out nine, and not walking a batter. Jessica Murfin picked up the win in the second game to give her a record of 4-2. She allowed one unearned run on six hits, while striking out nine, and not allowing a walk. Samantha Murfin took the loss in the championship game giving her a record of 4-1. She gave up eight runs, three of which were earned on nine hits, while striking out three, and walking one.