The Howe Lady Bulldog bats were muffled over the final four innings of their game in Sadler on Monday, while and the Lady Rams rallied to take a 5-3 win. The loss dropped Howe into a four-way tie for third in the District 11-2A softball race.
The first two innings were dominated by each team’s starting pitcher. Howe got a two-out single by Jaida Upchurch in the first, but that was the only hit for the visitors in the early going.
Madisyn Hargrove was dealing from the circle as well, striking out four of the first seven batters she faced, the only base runner coming off of a Lady Bulldog error in the first inning.
Christina Counts led off the Howe third inning with a stand-up double to the wall in center. After a strikeout, Counts was nailed at third as she attempted a steal.
The Lady Bulldogs staged a two-out rally as Dani Ross doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by Upchurch. A passed ball moved Upchurch to second and she came home on a single by Peyton Tinney, who moved to second on the throw to the plate. Tinney scored after a single by Kayla Anderson and the Lady Bulldogs were off to a 3-0 lead.
Any celebration was short-lived as the Lady Rams got right back into the game, scoring twice in their half of the inning. Brittany Butler was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and a single by Jessika Dyke put runners on the corners as Butler raced all the way to third.
Dyke moved up to second, and a little Texas leaguer by Shelby Bennett scored two, making it a 3-2 game.
S&S pitcher Paige Porter was almost perfect from the fourth inning on with a walk to Ross being the only base runner over those four frames,
The Lady Rams parlayed two walks, a double by Dyke and a couple of errors into three runs in their half of the fifth inning to take the lead, 5-3.
Porter struck out six of the 13 batters she faced over that four-inning stretch to get the win.
Howe will honor seniors Jaida Upchurch, Makenzie Duffee and Michaela Bledsoe with their day on April 5 as the Lady Bulldogs host Tom Bean in an 11 a.m. start.
Howe (17-7) (5-5) 2b-Christina Counts, Dani Ross.
Whitewright 6, Howe 5
There’s no doubt that the Whitewright softball team has had March 28 circled on its calendar since the Howe Lady Bulldogs beat them in the district opener early in the month. That was the only loss the Lady Tigers had in the first half of District 11-2A play.
Howe came back from Whitewright leads a couple of times in their clash on March 28 at the Lady Bulldogs home field, but a fifth inning wild pitch was the difference as the visitors came away with a 6-5 win.
At 2 p.m. it was shorts and tee-shirt weather, but this is Texas and by the time that 5:30 first-pitch was tossed, fans were looking for shelter from the strong north winds.
Whitewright came out ready to play and after an opening strikeout, the next four Lady Tiger batters hit singles to stake the team to a 2-0 lead.
It didn’t take the Lady Bulldogs long to respond as the top of the order was on fire all day.
Madisyn Hargrove drew a one-out walk, and Jaida Upchurch lashed a single to left field that, after a misplay, left Howe runners at second and third. Peyton Tinney sent a shot to the left field wall that just missed going yard by inches as Hargrove and Upchurch scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Whitwright came back to score three runs in the top of the third, the first two coming on a home run by Anna Shope.
The Lady Bulldogs had the answer in the bottom half of the fourth, as once again the big hitters came through. Upchurch doubled to the gap in right center to lead off the inning and a RBI single by Tinney scored Upchurch. Kayla Anderson grounded out to the right side before a single by Allison Streetman drove in Tinney. Bradi Slawson grounded out to first base, moving Streeman up and a Makenzie Duffee single brought Streetman home to tie the game at 5-all.
Upchurch, who finished the game with a 3-for-3 day at the plate, singled with two out in the Howe fifth but was left stranded.
Tucker Caraway was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth inning and after a couple of ground outs to the right side had moved her to third, She later scored on a wild pitch.
The Lady Bulldog defense pulled off double plays in the fourth and sixth innings, and with Hatty Shope standing on third base with a two-out triple in the Whitewright sixth inning, Hargrove fanned C.J.Crane to end the inning.
Howe (17-6)(5-4) 2b-Peyton Tinney, Jaida Upchurch.