Leonard 5, Howe 4
It was one of those — on any given day’s — when Leonard hosted Howe on March 31, and the Lady Tigers prevailed.
The Lady Bulldog bats had been on one fantastic rampage over the previous three games, outscoring the opposition, 51-10.
Leonard, 3-3 in the first half of league play held the visitors to just four runs, and battled back from a 4-3 deficit to get the 5-4 win.
The loss drops Howe to 5-2 in district play.
The early part of the game was similar to the Feb. 27 meeting in Howe between these two teams. Howe got an early lead in that one, fell behind, then rallied on the way to an 11-3 win.
The Lady Bulldogs got off to a good start at Leonard as junior Erin Blackburn reached on a error to open the contest.
With one out, Blackburn advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Madisyn Hargrove, then scored on a single to center field by junior Torrey Stubblefield.
Leonard came back in their half of the inning to tie the game.
Charley Ashworth had a one-out single and scored on a double to left field by Claudia Ware.
Leonard took the lead in the second on two soft hits into right field putting runners into scoring position.
With two out, the Lady Tigers got another Texas leaguer by Bridget Watson, driving in two to give Leonard a 3-1 lead.
In the third inning, two Lady Tigers errors allowed junior Peyton Streetman and Hargrove to reach, bringing Stubblefield to the plate. She hit a line shot back up the middle that hit Leonard pitcher Taylor Stricklin in the right shoulder, and allowed Streetman to score.
Both pitchers got into a groove over the next couple of frames, Stubblefield gave up just a walk and one hit through the fifth. That runner was erased on a nice double play as Ware lined it back to Stubblefield who tossed to first to get the double dip.
Streetman ripped a one-out triple to right field in the Howe fifth, but Stricklin worked out of that jam, keeping Streetman at third.
Senior Kayla Anderson had hit the ball hard in each of her first two at-bats, unfortunately right at someone. In the sixth, her one-hop to the wall double got the inning started. A ground out to the right side by junior Payton Griffin moved Anderson to third. Senior Dani Ross reached on an infield hit, but Anderson was unable to advance. After the second out, senior Emily Sanders blasted a shot to the wall in left center, plating Anderson and Ross to give the visitors a 4-3 lead.
Leonard came back in the bottom half of the inning to retake the lead. Stricklin walked to open the inning and Cummings reached on a fielder’s choice and an errror that allowed both runners to advance. A single and back-to-back walks scored two runs, allowing Leonard to re-claim the lead, 5-4. Streetman led off the Howe seventh with a single, but was caught stealing at second, and two consecutive outs preserved the Lady Tiger win.
After hosting Commerce on April 4, the Lady Bulldogs will travel to league-leading Lone Oak on the 7.