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September 12, 2013

Bad Inning Dooms Lady Tigers in 2-1 Loss in Title Game

Too many empty at bats and one bad inning defensively stole Scotland County's bid for the Knox County Tournament championship as the host team raised the crown following a 2-1 victory over the Lady Tigers softball team on Saturday afternoon.

SCR-I had all the momentum early on. Olivia Harris got the offense rolling with a one-out double. Bethany Rader followed with a two-bagger to make the score 1-0. Brieanna Priebe and Miranda Holland walked to load the bases, but Knox County's Lauren Dale recovered to strike out the next two hitters to keep the SCR-I lead at 1-0.

That looked like it might be enough as Bethany Rader kept the Eagles offense in check, with the only trouble coming from an occasional bout with control. Rader walked a pair of batters in the second but worked out of the jam. She worked around an error in the fourth inning to keep the score 1-0.

That would not be the case in the fifth inning, when Knox County took advantage of three errors and a walk to plate two runs and pull ahead 2-1.

After the first inning blip, Dale cruised through the SCR-I lineup, striking out six in a row, at one point, retiring 13 out of 14 batters with the lone blip a leadoff walk, which was erased by a caught stealing.

That all changed in the bottom of the sixth inning. Harris led off with a single. Rader crushed a drive to left, center field that was only feet away from a go-ahead home run. Instead the ball bounced off the fence for a double and left runner sat second and third with no outs. Again Dale recovered, striking out the next three batters to preserve the 2-1 lead.

After fanning the first two batters in the seventh, SCR-I regained hope when Abi Feeney singled. A bloop hit by Slaughter put runners at first and second. But the game ended on a controversial call at first base where Harris appeared to beat out an infield hit but was called out on a bang-bang play.

Rader was 2-3 at the dish with a pair of doubles. Harris went 2-4 while Feeney and Slaughter had the lone other SCR-I hits.

Rader was the hard-luck loser, going seven innings allowing just the two unearned runs. She surrendered just two hits, but walked four while striking out seven.

Dale was the winning pitcher, allowing one earned run in seven innings on six hits. She walked three and struck out 16.

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