by Becky Weaver
Monday was the beginning of the NCOE Lady Cardinal softball season as they traveled to West Frankfort for their first game. Knowing West Frankfort already had three games under their belts against some top notch teams, and NCOE had yet to be able to practice on an actual ball field due to wet weather conditions, the Lady Cardinals were aware this would be a tall task.
This task nonetheless was one NCOE was ready to face as they loaded the bases in their first inning of play. Although the Lady Cardinals loaded the bases, they were unable to push a run across the plate and left three runners stranded. West Frankfort, realizing they could not take NCOE lightly, responded in the bottom of the first inning to score four runs and take the 4-0 lead. The next three innings saw NCOE put the bat on the ball, but stellar defense from West Frankfort kept the Lady Cardinals from putting any runners on the base paths. Along with errorless defense, West Frankfort was able to add an additional five runs to their total to take a 9-0 lead going into the fifth inning. The top of the fifth inning is where NCOE finally broke through as Lexie Money got on base with a single followed by a double from Morgan Phillips and then Elizabeth Martin received the only walk West Frankfort would allow in the game. At this point, NCOE had loaded the bases for the second time in the game. Sydney Tucker came to bat and hit a two run double which narrowed the Redbird lead to 9-2. West Frankfort answered back in the bottom of the fifth with three runs of their own defeating NCOE 12-2.
Sydney Tucker led the way for the Lady Cardinals with two hits (one double) and two RBI's. Morgan Phillips also collected a double on the day along with one run. Lexie Money had one hit and scored one run, and Britt Peyton collected a hit.
Ally Black was called on for pitching duties and collected two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of action. NCOE (0-1) will travel to Gallatin County on Tuesday to take on the Lady Hawks in their first conference game of the season.
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