By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

SLOCUM – The Slocum Lady Mustangs rode the pitching of Taylor Clark and capitalized on a half-dozen errors from the Neches Lady Tigers to win a District 21-2A softball matchup on Monday, March 27.

Clark gave up a one-out, first inning hit to Neches’ Hannah Lovelady but that was all she allowed as she worked five innings, struck out one and walked one. Lady Tiger Josey Sumpter was saddled with the loss after she pitched 4.1 innings gave up eight hits, allowed 10 runs, walked three and struck out two.

The game started with Clark retiring Sheridan Andrews on a pop up to short. Lovelady followed with the Lady Tigers’ only hit, a line drive to center field. Clark next coaxed a pop up from Sumpter for the second out and then forced Hana Walsh to hit into a 5-4 ground out to end the inning.

The Lady Mustangs wasted little time as they jumped on Neches for two first inning runs. Jalyn Fletcher led off for Slocum and reached base on a dropped third strike. She moved to third on Kara Cumby’s grounder into center field and came into score on Jessi Ives ground out to second.

Cumby moved to third of nth play and came around to score when MaKayla Bickerstaff doubled into the left center field gap. Sumpter was able to reign in the Lady Mustangs but found herself in a 2-0 deficit after the first inning of play.

A quiet second inning gave way to a three run third inning for Slocum. Cumby led off and was hit by a pitch. She advanced to second on an Ives’ single into shallow center. A wild pitch moved Cumby and Ives to second and third and when Bickerstaff hit her second double of the game, both Cumby and Ives crossed the plate to make the score 4-0, in favor of Slocum.

Slocum threatened to blow the game wide open in the third but only managed to put up one more run after Bickerstaff was called out at home and Briley Evers was able to score an unearned run thanks to three errors by Neches.

With the score now 5-0, it was obvious the Lady Tigers were pressing at the plate but the harder they pressed the issue, the worse they did. Two ground outs and a pop up did the Lady Tigers in during their half of the fourth inning while a pair of errors and a sacrifice fly from Ives made the score 6-0, in favor of Slocum, after four complete.

In the fifth, Clark sandwiched a Slocum fielding error between the first and second outs before she forced Madison Whitfield to ground out to Bickerstaff at shortstop.

As the bottom of the fifth got underway, Sumpter walked the first two batters she faced in Briley Evers and Courtney January. Evers advanced to third on a passed ball and January stole second after Shelby Bowman popped to Sumpter.

Laney Lasiter was up next and lined 1-1 pitch into deep center field for a double that chased Evers and January across the plate. Jalyn Fletcher followed with a grounder up the middle to advance Lasiter to third.

Cumby was up next and doubled in Lasiter and moved Fletcher to third. Ives followed with a ground ball into right field to plate Fletcher and end the game with the score 10-0, in favor of Slocum.

As previously mentioned, Taylor Clark picked up the win by going five complete innings and only allowing one hit with one BB and one K. Sumpter took the loss after pitching 4.1 innings and giving up eight hits and 10 runs.

At the plate, Slocum was led by MaKayla Bickerstaff who was 2-3 with three RBI, Kara Cumby who was 2-3 with one RBI and two runs scored and Jessi Ives who was 2-4 with three RBI and one run scored.

Neches’ lone bright spot at the plate was Hannah Lovelady who was 1-2.

PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE LIMERICK

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.