The Lady Lions are off to a thrilling start in softball, collecting a 6-1 opening day victory over Dickson on Tuesday.
Ten strikeouts for Kailyn Ward, stellar defense from shortstop Katie Caraway and a two-run homer for senior Colby Holder made for a jaw-dropping season opener which could turn some heads in 5A fast-pitch.
“As far as effort, this is the best bunch of girls I have ever coached,” said Aaron Mullens, head coach of the Lady Lions. “We pitched it well and played great defense. We hit well with runners in scoring position, the only thing we need to improve upon is putting teams away. We had opportunities, capitalized on some but missed some as well.”
The Lady Lions did strand seven runners in the early innings, but all it amounted to was preventing a run-rule. A shaky two-error fifth inning was the only glitch in the defense, which featured some brilliant individual plays.
The play of the game – and perhaps one of the best anyone will see anywhere this season – belonged to Caraway. The Lady Comets put two runners in scoring position with one outs when she jumped up for a blooper, held on, rolled partially backwards, and made the throw to catcher Alexa Richards for an unlikely double play.
“That was the best play I’ve seen, at any level,” Mullens said. Caraway also made waves in the fourth when she gobbled up a shot from the Dickson bats and fired a rocket to Holder at first for the out. In the same inning, catcher Richards hustled to her right for a foul pop-up to end the inning.
Holder added to the excitement with a sixth-inning blast over the left field fence which also scored Kenzi Clapp. “I was pumped, pretty much,” said Holder, who went 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles on a 4-RBI afternoon. “I just think of it as a base hit that went well.”
Overall, the Lady Lions hit .321 in their first official outing of the season. Clapp (2-4) had two singles, an RBI, two runs and a stolen base. Caraway notched a single, a stolen base and two runs. Ward and freshman Riley Andis had a single each, and Katheryn Prentice scored a run after her second-inning triple.
On the mound, Ward only allowed three hits in her complete game victory. She walked two, and got Dickson hitters out on four grounders and six in the air. The Lady Comets had three stolen bases to Durant’s two.
The Lady Lions (1-0) are now primed for a Saturday double-header against district rival Collinsville at the Multi-Sports Complex. Games will be held at 1 and 3 p.m.