Willard, Mo. (For Ozarks Sports Zone) -- The Lady Tigers opened their season with a decisive five-inning win over the Lady Hornets, 11-1 Wednesday night in Willard. The Lady Tigers placed 12 hits, with 7 strikeouts by pitcher Miki Andrus.
The Lady Tigers’ Hanna Hendrix and Olivia Rhoten posted two runs in the 1st inning. Morgan Gaunt scored for the Lady Tigers in the 2nd.
With a lead of 3-0 at the bottom of the 3rd inning, Allison Davis and Andrus each hit singles. Maddi Reynolds followed with a single that brought Davis and Andrus home, widening the Lady Tigers’ lead to 5-0.
Reynolds stole 2nd during Gaunt’s turn at bat, and Megan Graham came in as a substitute runner. Gaunt hit a double, bringing Graham to 3rd.
Hannah Brooks followed with a single. Brooks stole 2nd while Bridget Rippe began her turn at bat. Rippe’s single brought Graham home. Hendrix completed the streak with a single RBI for Gaunt and Brooks, giving the Lady Tigers a lead of 8-0.
The Lady Tigers’ coach AshLeigh Williams praised the team’s performance.
“We had that five-run inning, and that really solidified the game for us. We took a deep breath and relaxed a little bit,” said Williams.
The 4th inning was scoreless for both teams, and the Lady Hornets’ Ashley Ruggles finally placed a run on the board in the 5th inning.
Hendrix, Brooks, and Rippe scored in the 5th, and the game was called with a score of 11-1.
Williams plans to work on the Lady Tigers’ defense.
“Twelve hits in five innings, that’s pretty good for us. We work on hitting the ball hard to the ground--line drives, and using our speed to our advantage, and we definitely did that. We obviously need to work on defense. That’s been the case for the last three years. We’ll continue to work on that and hopefully grow throughout the season, and just keep getting better,” said Williams.
Andrus pitched all five innings, with 7 strikeouts.
“It was a good start to the season, and I’m really excited about what we can do this year. As long as we keep the errors down, we’ll be okay,” said Andrus.
Both teams travel to meet their next opponent tomorrow night, Aug. 29. Willard plays against Kickapoo, while Hillcrest meets Marshfield.
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