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Ladycats open season fourth at Ashdown

By Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools, 03/9/21 9:17 AM

ASHDOWN – After struggling in a rough outing for the season opener, the Hope High School Ladycats fought their way to a fourth-plash finish in the annual Ashdown softball tourney. The Ladycat pitching by Grace Trauger earned her a shutout against Avery in the March 5th tournament opener and a 12-0 win.

Ashlyn Courtney sparked the Ladycats bats driving in four runs and hitting three for four at the plate. Courtney scored runners on a single in the first, double in the third and a single in the fourth to lead the Ladycat attack.

With a five-run first inning, the Ladycats gave Trauger the backing, allowing only one hit with no runs through four frames. Trauger struck out one and had no walks as Courtney, Zakiyah Randle and Trauger unloaded at the plate in a game that saw all 13 girls on the roster take the field.

Hope maintained the the momentum in the second round March 6th, defeating Arkansas High in five innings with a thrilling 10-9 comeback win.

After building a six-run lead in the first three innings, the Ladycats fell short going into the final stanza. Trailing 9-7 in the top of the fifth, Aiyana Martin reached on a third strike pass ball that scored three runs to seal the game.

Grace Trauger went three and a third innings on the mound for Hope as the winning pitcher, with six runs on five hits, two strikeouts and no walks. Trauger got relief for the final one and two-thirds from Ashlyn Courtney out of the bullpen.

But the Ladycat magic was broken in the next game against Booneville as Payton Rhodes was on the mound for Hope, but allowed six runs on five hits in two innings, while striking out one and giving up zero walks.

Booneville’s bats were too strong as Aiyana Martin reached on a single in the third inning but the Ladycats lost 10-0.

Hope struggled with pitching problems and quiet bats the remainder of the day, losing to Ashdown 16-0, as Rhodes gave up five runs on six hits over one and two-thirds innings, with one strikeout and no walks. Courney and Randle each collected a hit, but did not score. The Ladycats placed fourth in field of 17.