GRAFTON— Playing six games over the course of seven days, the Lady Bearcats softball team split the contests adding three wins and taking three losses.
On Tuesday, April 5, the Lady ‘Cats’ home matchup against Preston County saw the “mercy rule” enacted after the third inning, Grafton with the hefty lead.
After an uneventful start, opening 1-0 in the first inning, the Lady Bearcats were on fire from the plate and ready to run, knocking in 11 runs in the second inning, for a quick 12-0 lead over Preston.
The Lady ‘Cats would bring three more home before the game was called, ending in favor of Grafton 15-0.
Freshman pitcher for the Lady Bearcats Lillie Crimm, put on a stellar performance, pitching a no hitter on nine “At Bat” opportunities for Preston and striking out eight.
Grafton’s 15 runs were scored off ten hits and 20 “At Bats”. Contributing to the Lady Bearcats’ runs were Ashley Smith (2), Frederique Maloley (2), Crimm (2), Ava Schommer-Klebe (2), Gracen Purkey (3), Chelsea Mauller (1), Mya Collins (1) and Jade Hall (1).
Later in the week, on Friday, April 8, the Lady ‘Cats traveled to Keyser for a double header, where their first game was delayed due to the weather conditions.
Despite the less than pleasant playing conditions, Keyser came ready to win, recording two homerun hits by Mangold and Shoemaker in the first inning.
Keyser continued to connect at the plate, recording 14 hits and 10 runs over five innings.
Maloley got things started on the mound for Grafton, lasting two innings, allowing three hits and two runs, walking none.
Crimm would man the mound for the remaining innings, taking the loss for the Lady Bearcats, allowing eight runs on 11 hits, while striking out one and walking one.
Mangold took the 10-2 win in the circle for Keyser, surrendering just two runs on five hits over five innings, striking out 12.
Game two of the double-header saw a battle on the mound against Spring Mills, as the pitching efforts were strong on both sides.
Maloley claimed victory for Grafton, lasting nearly six innings, allowing just three hits and two runs while sitting seven.
Claire Wetzel put up some stiff competition, but would take the loss for Spring Mills, allowing three runs on four hits, also striking out seven.
In the hard-fought and narrow 3-2 win over the Lady Bulldogs, Smith, Crimm, Mattie Shaver and Schommer-Klebe each recorded one hit for the Lady ‘Cats.
Keeping busy, the Lady Bearcats entered more double-header action on Saturday in a series against Musselman Applemen Varsity (MAV) and Spring Mills.
Grafton put up their best efforts, led by Maloley who drove in four runs.
Unfortunately, the Lady ‘Cats fell short after seven innings, dropping the contest 13-7.
Despite the loss, Grafton collected nine hits, including Maloley’s first pitch homer.
Working to recover from the loss to MAV, the Lady ‘Cats once again faced off with Spring Mills, but the game would not go in favor of Grafton this time around.
While the contest remained close for the duration, with Grafton in the lead, Spring Hills knocked in some late runs to overcome the deficit and take the slim 7-5 victory.
Tied at 5-5, Spring Mills was up to bat at the top of the seventh and managed to take the lead off a stolen base.
Maloley, Shaver and Smith each recorded multiple hits for the Lady Bearcats, including a home run hit by Smith in the third inning.
On Monday, Grafton was able to round out the series of games on a high note with a 4-1 win over North Marion High School.
North Marion’s offense got things started early with Adrianna Heater driving one in on a double, however, Grafton would come from behind to steal the lead late in the game with a spark started at the bottom of the fifth when Smith singled on the first pitch of the “At Bat”, scoring one run.
Crimm is credited with the win, as she went seven innings, allowing one run on two hits, striking out 11 and walking none.
Runs for the Lady ‘Cats were recorded by Abigail Wyer (1), Smith (1), Savanna Wyckoff (1) and Hall (1).