After collecting two consecutive victories in the week, the NCOE Lady Cardinal softball team knew they had their work cut out for them against the Crab Orchard Lady Trojans if they were going to be able to make this a perfect three for three on the week. Crab Orchard, whom most have picked to be the top team in the Greater Egyptian Conference this season, came into this contest with a 13-1 overall record and an undefeated conference record to this point. Not to mention, the Lady Trojans were returning all but one starter from last year’s team that reached the Class A Regional Championship game.
First inning action was a little rocky for NCOE as they allowed seven Lady Trojans to reach base and five of those crossed the plate to take a 5-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, the Lady Cardinals were able to put the ball in play, but stellar defense by Crab Orchard kept the bases clear. The second inning wasn’t much better for NCOE as their defense was all but flawless and they allowed three more runs to score, putting Crab Orchard ahead by a score of 8-0. This score would hold until the top of the fourth inning when the Lady Trojans struck once again for one run to increase their lead to 9-0.
Hits were hard to come by in this game for the Lady Cardinals, but Brit Peyton and Ally Black each collected a single for NCOE in the bottom of the fourth inning to spoil the no hit bid by Crab Orchard pitcher Brooke Arnold. Unfortunately, they were unable to score. The fifth inning action gave way to one more Crab Orchard run to see NCOE fall behind 10-0 with one more chance to score in order to keep the game going, but once again, lights out pitching and perfect defense did not allow NCOE to cross the plate as they fell by the final score of 10-0.
Ally Black took the mound for NCOE in the contest. Black went four innings, giving up nine runs (seven earned) on eight hits while recording five strikeouts. Caite Weiss relieved Black to pitch one inning giving up one run on one hit while recording two strikeouts.
“Crab Orchard has the best pitcher that we have faced thus far in the season, and one of the best, if not the best that we will see all year. The girl’s never backed down and went up to bat and put the ball in play and made them make a play. Unfortunately for us, they made the plays and never committed an error.” This loss dropped the Lady Cardinals to 4-3 on the year and 2-1 in the GEC.
NCOE will travel to Crab Orchard on Tuesday, April 21, then play at home on April 23 against Hardin County and again on April 24 against Galatia.