By Stephen Smoot
As storms raged across the state last Wednesday evening, Tucker County tried to host a doubleheader with Pendleton County. The Mountain Lions, unfortunately, brought the thunder in the first game, leaving Mother Nature to provide it for the second.
The Wildcats offered a lightning strike of their own in the first inning as Lizzie Alt belted her first home run in the game’s second at bat as her team piled on three runs in the first inning.
In the top of the second, Avery Townsend rocketed a two out line drive to left center for a sliding triple, but could not advance from there. Tucker County led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, but Nataley Hedrick caught a foul tip from the next batter for the initial out. Two hard luck slow ground balls later and the Mountain Lions loaded the bases. Another walk sent in the first run of the inning.
Two batters later, Tucker County hit a ground ball triple that scored three runs and gave them a 5-3 advantage.
Pendleton County struck back in the top of the third. After the first out, Baylee Beachler walked on four pitches. Katie Hedrick then hit a ground ball into left field to put runners on first and second with one out. Ashton Hess followed that with a drive through the gap in right center field to the wall. Hess knocked one run in and landed safely at second.
Hannah Rexrode followed that shot with a sacrifice bunt with runners at second and third. Her sacrifice earned her team an RBI and a score tied at five. With a runner at third, Jenna Smith hit a double to the wall to score another run. The Wildcats ended their half of the inning with a 6-5 lead.
Tucker County benefited from a hit batter to lead off the bottom of the third. After a fly ball out in deep center, the Mountain Lions hit a triple. Two batters later, a ground ball to short scored the run and tied the game at six. The next batter also hit in a run on a ground ball. A strikeout ended the inning, but not until Tucker County climbed back on top 7-6.
The Wildcats went in order in the fourth. Tucker County launched a barrage in the bottom of the inning, leading off by getting two runners on base. They then hit a ground ball to short. The Wildcats got a runner at second, but the Mountain Lions picked up the RBI. Tucker County then picked up two singles to left field with an out in between to extend their lead to 10-6. They added four more runs in the bottom of the inning to close out the win at 14-6.
In the second game, the Wildcats raced out to a 2-0 lead, gave up four in the bottom of the first, then scored in the top of the second for a 4-3 Tucker County advantage. At that point, the game was called for lightning and is expected to be rescheduled for completion at a later time.
Later in the week, the Wildcats took a 9-7 game from Liberty. The squad led 2-0 after the first inning, but Liberty knotted it up in the bottom of the stanza. One run in the third and three in the fourth gave Liberty a 6-4 lead, but Pendleton County took the final 9-7, going ahead to stay after a four run fourth.
Pendleton County plays Saturday at Frankfort.