HOPE – The bats have been working well for the Hope High School Softball Ladycats of late, as the team wades into a deep conference schedule through April.
Ladycat Coach Bryce Cash’s charges scored a total of 37 runs in games against Foreman and Fountain Lake after struggling in their conference opener against Mena.
“Payton Rhodes was clutch at the plate with runners on base against Fountain Lake, driving in five on three hits to lead the Ladycats past Fountain Lake, 17-10,” Cash said.
Rhodes scored runners on a triple in the first a stolen base in the fifth and a triple in the sixth as the Ladycats took the lead early in the first after Rhodes’ triple with singles by Aiyana Martin and Ashlyn Courtney. While Fountain Lake drove in three, Hope scored eight in the bottom of the first.
Fountain Lake scored two more in the third and two in the fourth innings, but the Ladycats answered as their bats roared to life with six runs in the fifth. Fountain Lake battled but managed only three runs in the sixth and seventh, as the Ladycats finished them off at the plate in the bottom of the sixth.
Grace Trauger went four innings on the mound for Hope, with Courtney throwing three in relief. Hope allowed 10 runs on 15 hits through seven innings, with three strike outs and no walks.
The Ladycats stole the field from Fountain Lake with Annabeth Martin stealing three times in the eight bases taken by Hope in the March 12 outing.
Hope began a run against Foreman on March 11 in a 20-5 win that saw the Ladycats’ base running catch fire in the fourth.
ZaKiah Randle got things started for Hope in the first inning with a 3-2 single that scored a run, with the Ladycats scoring four more. Foreman answered with three runs, but the Lady Gator pitching fell flat with walks in the fourth that scored Randle, Payton Rhodes, Edith Dominguez, Annabeth Martin and Ahyanna Gulley. Martin and Gianna Knight drove in a run each on singles in the inning and Knight scored on an error.
The Ladycats scored nine runs in the fourth as they unleashed a flurry of stolen bases with 17 purloined bags by six Ladycats in the game. Randle led the base-stealing frenzy with four.
Rhodes was on the mound for Hope, allowing five runs on four hits and striking out nine batters over five innings.
The Ladycats struggled as their conference play opened against Mena on March 9, giving up 14 runs in a 14-4 loss.
Mena uncorked 11 runs in the first inning as Grace Trauger went one and a half-innings on the mound, allowing 11 runs on seven hits and one strikeout. Payton Rhodes took the relief for two and two-thirds innings, but allowed three more runs on nine hits and striking out three.
Hope rallied in the third inning with three runs as Alayna Martin singled, Trauger doubled and Zakiah Randle was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rhodes brought them home on a center field double.
The Ladycats held Mena to one run in the third, and Hope scored one in the fifth on a sacrifice grounder by Randle, cutting the lead to 12-4. But Mena answered with two more in the fifth to close the rocky start for Hope.
The Ladycats return to play March 30 at Ladycat Yard against Bauxite in a 4:30 conference match-up after Spring Break.