ALMA — One run and one hit was all it took to stir Booneville.
Of course, when a team has a player the caliber of Ashdon Ross, the opposition isn’t going to get much more, anyway.
Ross pitched a complete-game three-hitter and the Lady Bearcats lineup responded to a one-run deficit to continue their tear through the second-half of the softball season with a resounding 10-3 nonconference win at Alma.
All the damage came across three innings. All of the runs and 13 of the 16 hits came in those three. The biggest was a five-run sixth in which the Lady Bearcats batted around the lineup.
"That’s been our thing all year is getting the bats going," Booneville coach Doc Crowley said. "And when we do, it’s like everyone feeds off each other and we do what we did in that one inning. Hopefully we can continue to do that."
Already ahead 2-1, Booneville collected four hits, reached on a fielder’s choice, had a sacrifice bunt and was hit by a pitch to account for the five runs. Carley Woolridge reached to start the inning after being pegged. Mariah Reagan sacrificed her to second and Taylor Bauer knocked her in with a double to right field. Bauer and Taylor Rodatz would score on a Morgan Osborne single to center and Hannah McClung knocked in Camry Robertson to cap the inning.
Alma couldn’t respond because they couldn’t unlock Ross.
The sophomore left-hander struck out seven and allowed just one hit and one run through her first six innings. Some late-game focus may have been missing in the seventh, Crowley said, but it was nothing to be bothered by.
"She’s real tough when she’s focused and I think she might have just lost some focus there," he said. "But you can’t beat her when she’s throwing like she was earlier. I’d put her up against anyone here. I’m glad she’s on our team."
Shaylee Sevenstar had the best day for the Lady Airedales. She had just one hit, a two-run double in the seventh, but walked twice. Hailey Ostrander had the team’s other RBI when she was walked with the bases loaded in the third inning. Ross struck out Taylor Thornbrugh a batter later and stranded three runners.
"Couldn’t get any hits until, what, I guess we got two hits in the last inning," Alma coach Charla Parrish said. "We’ve got Greenbrier and Vilonia left in our conference and we’re going to have to face pitching that speed if we want to over those two teams."
Booneville has a single conference game left, against Dover on Friday. Crowley’s team needs to maximum its run output and hope Mena beats Pottsville that same day to clinch a conference championship.
His team closed their post-game huddle with those words, "conference championship," on Tuesday.
"If Pottsville beats Mena, we’ll be the two-seed," Crowley said. "But one and two automatically makes regionals, so either way we’ll be all right."