The Booneville softball team looked to shake off a disappointing loss to Alma last Monday with a win in the 4-4A district tournament at Waldron on Saturday. Through 4 1/2 innings the Lady Cats and Pottsville traded zeroes on the scoreboard.
Booneville scored once each in the fifth and sixth innings as Taylor Bauer used a squeeze play to drive in Marissa O’Neal in the fifth and Morgan Osborne followed in the next inning with an inside-the-park home run as the Lady Cats advanced to the finals of the tournament with a 2-0 win over the Lady Apaches.
The Lady Cats (14-9) advanced to the finals last night, where they took on the winner of Monday’s other semifinal between Mena and host Waldron. Booneville will begin regional tournament play on Friday in Farmington; if they win the district tournament they will play at 5:00, while if they are the runner-up they will take the field at 2:30. Due to the 1-4A tournament being delayed by rain, the Lady Cats’ opponent is yet to be determined.
Alma 10 Lady Cats 6
Booneville opened the scoring in the first inning as Ashdon Ross led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Morgan Osborne and scored on Hannah McClung’s single. The Lady Cats added another in the second inning as Kaitlynn Davis singled and advanced two bases on an outfield error by Alma. She came home when Jacque Hall beat out an infield single.
The Lady Cats appeared to take a commanding lead by scoring four runs in the third inning. Osborne led off with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on a McClung single. Booneville then loaded the bases after a hit by Marissa O’Neal and a walk to Davis. A wild pitch brought in one run and Lilly Dobbs’ single plated the other two.
But Alma sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third, with six scoring on only two hits. Taylor Nichols issued four walks and two other batters reached on errors. Three more Booneville errors led to two Airedalette runs in the fourth and AHS added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Booneville only managed two hits after the third inning. McClung had two hits and two RBIs while Davis scored twice.
Lady Cats 2 Pottsville 0
Booneville lefthander Ashdon Ross struck out two of the first three batters; the other one singled but was cut down stealing by catcher Hannah McClung. Marissa O’Neal was hit by a pitch in the second inning for the Lady Cats’ first baserunner, but she was left stranded.
Ross issued a walk to lead off the third inning but after the next batter struck out, Kaitlynn Davis started a 5-6-3 double play to end the inning. Ross then singled with two out in the bottom of the inning, but was thrown out stealing for the first time this season.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when O’Neal led off with an infield hit. She was sacrificed over to second by Davis and Jacque Hall then stroked a single to center, advancing when Pottsville missed the cutoff on the throw to the infield. Taylor Bauer then bunted the ball to the left of the pitcher. The throw was in time to retire the Booneville right fielder but O’Neal had broken for the plate and beat the first baseman’s throw back for the first run of the game.
The Lady Cats turned an unorthodox double play in the sixth inning. After a single and a strikeout, the next batter hit a line drive to second baseman Taylor Nichols with the runner breaking from first. Nichols’ throw was too high for Hall at first but the ball rebounded off the wall by the Pottsville dugout and right back to Hall, whose throw to Nichols still beat the runner returning to first.
Booneville put it away in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Morgan Osborne hit a slicing line drive that got past the right fielder. By the time Pottsville retrieved the ball Osborne was halfway to third base and she beat the throw home standing up for her second home run of the season. McClung and O’Neal followed with hits but the Lady Cats failed to add to their score.
It would not matter as Ross, after giving up a leadoff single in the top of the seventh, retired the next three batters in order. She thus completed a three-hit shutout, striking out seven and walking only one to lower her earned run average to 1.34. O’Neal reached base all three times she came to the plate.