With two runners on base against them, one out and leading 4-2 in the top of the fifth inning, the Fred T. Foard softball team huddled.
“We just wanted to get re-composed,” said Foard coach Jennifer Cook. “We had let Draughn make a run in the same spot of the order earlier in the game. We helped them into scoring position with uncharacteristic errors. I just kind of reminded of what we needed to do. We needed to take care of the girl at the plate without allowing a score and take care of the next two batters.”
The Lady Tigers (14-3) did just that and more.
Foard was able to get out of the inning with no runs allowed, and retired eight of the next nine Draughn hitters on their way to a 7-2 win.
Leading the way was the performance by Tigers’ pitcher Lexi Shubert. She was dominant on the mound, striking out 12 batters, including four of the final six in the game.
“I was just trying to do my best,” Shubert said. “Coach (Cook) just encourages me to do my best. I just try as hard as I can.”
Cook said a performance like Shubert had on Thursday is pretty common.
“It was a good day on the rubber for her,” Cook said. “That has been very typical for her.”
Shubert also had a two-RBI double in the third inning, which gave Foard its first lead of the game, 3-2.
“Lexi is in the clean-up spot for a reason,” Cook said. “She has a lot of big hits and hits the ball hard. She seems to come through on big hits when we need them. Luckily, we usually have people in scoring position when she does hit the ball well.”
Savannah Burns and Addie Bolick also had one hit and an RBI each for the Tigers, and Emily Crouse had a 3-for-4 day at the plate with two runs scored.
The Wildcats (12-7) took the 2-0 lead in the game behind a two-RBI double from first basemen Meah White in the top of the third inning.
Foard answered back in the bottom of the third inning. Taylor Brown and Kendall Settlemyre reached base with one out on back-to-back throwing errors by Draughn.
Brown scored on Settlemyre’s at-bat to cut the Wildcat lead down to 2-1.
After Mackenze Dziendziel reached on a bunt single two batters later, Shubert doubled to right center field to score Settlemyre and Dziendziel.
Burns added the final run of the inning on a single that scored Crouse.
After Shubert pitched her way out of the jam in the top of fifth inning, the Tigers proceeded to add three more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Another error cost the Wildcats with the bases loaded, which allowed Burns and Ashley Oliver to score.
A single by Bolick, which scored Crouse, tallied the final run of the inning and game.
Shubert retired the side in order via three strikeouts in the top of the sixth inning. She added a final strikeout of the first batter of the seventh inning.
Shubert finished with 12 strikeouts, allowed two hits, no walks and hit one batter.
The Lady Tigers forced two fly balls for the final outs of the game.
Cook says the two games her team play this week are huge steps into the final stages of the regular season.
“We are playing this week on Thursday and Friday so that we can head into next week and finish off our conference season,” Cook said. “We want to get into the conference tournament with some momentum. This is a good start for us today.”