By Brian Besch
Lady Lion softball took a one-run win 3-2 over neighboring Onalaska Friday at Livingston ISD’s softball complex.
Down a run, Livingston scored once in the fourth to tie, with two more in the fifth to secure a lead they would not surrender.
Onalaska opened a tight, scoreless game in the fourth when Kenadi Houser walked and stole second base. That allowed Madison Wilson to drive in the first of two RBIs on the night.
Pitching for the Lady Cats was freshman Savannah Benningfield, who threw 4.1 innings, giving up three runs, two that were earned. She struck out three, walked three and gave up the same amount of runs. Madi Anderson relieved her, and finished out 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit.
“I was very impressed with my kids tonight,” Onalaska coach David Brown said. “From where we were at last time we played them (an 11-3 loss on March 2), 3-2, I will take that. We made several errors last time that killed us early and just didn't recover.
“The first pitcher that pitched the five innings is a freshman and she does a good job of controlling the plate and she did a good job tonight. They had a hard time waiting on her and if we can get our combination to work like that where she can pitch for five innings and then we come in with Madi and she be on, we’ll be fine.”
Answering in the bottom half of that fourth inning, Livingston’s Jaycee Knighton walked, Carrie Parker singled and Baylee Yantes bunted and reached by error to load the bags. Raylee Gaston also put a ball in play that was not fielded cleanly and scored the tieing run.
In the following frame, Janae Bland was hit by a pitch and stole second. Soon after, Knighton singled her home. Parker would then walk and Gaston got another run in, singling for a 3-1 advantage.
Knighton was also effective on the mound, where she held Onalaska to two runs over seven innings for the win.
“The girls are getting better,” Lady Lion coach Ruth Wright said. “We still have to take care of defense behind our pitchers. They are hitting their spots and doing a great job. We need to communicate before the ball is pitched and get a game plan of what we are supposed to do. I think it is a matter of getting more used to each other.
“At the plate, we just need the reps. We need to realize that they are throwing to us and it doesn't mean that we have to hit their pitch — we can hit our pitch. We get in there and we are a little overanxious and decide that we are just going to swing instead of being patient, especially with runners in scoring position.”
Onalaska would get one more run, as Wilson drove in Kierra Anstee in the sixth.
“We took too many called third strikes, but they were hitting spots,” Brown said. “We've not played a really close ball game like that and I was hoping to get in one of those. Next Friday night, we play Hardin and they are going to have a good pitcher. We didn't hit the ball like we are capable of hitting it, but you are going to run into games like that.”
In district, Livingston has dropped a game to a very good Liberty squad and had eight errors against Splendora in a two-run loss. They have, however, beaten Hardin-Jefferson 11-3 in a road contest.
Now at 11-6-1 overall, Livingston will take on Hamshire-Fannett Tuesday. The 11-4 Lady Cats will host Anderson-Shiro in a district match Tuesday.