One big inning was the difference in Smith-Cotton’s home opening softball game against Clinton, as the Lady Cardinals defeated the Lady Tigers 9-4.
The loss puts Smith-Cotton at 1-3 on the season. The Lady Tigers started the season this past weekend at the Boonville Tournament. Pilot Grove got an 8-0 victory over Smith-Cotton to start the tournament.
The Lady Tigers got a 10-3 win over Russellville before losing 4-2 to Wright City.
“We played well,” said Smith-Cotton softball coach Janeil Draffen. “We made some mental errors during the Wright City game and we probably could have came back and won that, but we just had a few errors.”
Thursday, the Lady Tigers got on the board first when Haily Zaremba singled in Darby Christian with two outs in the first inning.
Clinton responded in a big way with six runs in the second inning and Smith-Cotton couldn’t erase the deficit.
It was highlighted with Anna Wilkerson’s three-run home run to left-center field to make it 6-1 Lady Cardinals.
Smith-Cotton pitcher Sarah Bergman would hold Clinton at bay from the third inning until a three-run seventh inning.
“She’s doing good,” Draffen said. “She’s still working on keeping the ball low and getting better at that.”
Smith-Cotton tried its best for a comeback in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Reagan Hockett drove a fly ball over the right fielder’s head to score Mariah Voitl from first base.
Hockett later scored from third on Christian ground out. Maddi Kindle tried to keep the rally going with a double to right field, but a ground out and a fly out ended the game.
“They started to be more aggressive as the game progressed,” Draffen said.
The Lady Tigers’ other run came in the second inning when Voitl singled in McKenna Woolery. Seven hitters recorded at least one hit for Smith-Cotton.
Smith-Cotton did commit four errors, but the defense prevented Clinton from pulling away even more.
Clinton had runners on the corners with no outs in the second inning when Christian fielded a ground ball at third base and threw home to Kindle for the tag.
The Lady Tigers also doubled off a runner at second base in the seventh inning after Woolery caught a fly ball and threw to second base for the force out.
Next up, Smith-Cotton will host Boonville on Wednesday.