Lady Cats drop close game at Valliant

Wes Haddox

With a spot in the playoffs on the line, the Antlers Lady Cats find themselves in a battle in the middle of the district standings trying to stay in contention for one of the top four spots in the district. After a four day layoff over the Labor Day holiday, they traveled to Valliant on Tuesday, September 4 to take on their McCurtain County rivals, the Valliant Lady Dawgs.
The battery duo of freshman Kattie Bailey on the mound and sophomore Gracie Shoemake behind the plate started the game for Antlers as they have every varsity game up to this point in the season. To start things off in the first inning, Legend Bell received a base on balls and then stole second but was left stranded to end the inning. Valliant was able to bring one across the plate in the bottom half of the inning off of back to back hits with two outs. The defenses controlled the second and third innings as both pitchers were throwing ground balls to quickly retire their opponents.
Antlers tied the score in the fourth as Bell, Shoemake, and Haley Young each collected hits. Young knocked in Shoemake with a 2 out, RBI double up the middle. In the bottom of the fourth, Valliant coach Tommy Howard decided to play small ball with four of the first six hitters he sent to the plate laying down perfectly placed bunts. Mix in two hits with that and a hit batsman and that allowed the Lady Dawgs to retake the lead at 4-1 at the end of the fourth.
The Lady Cats were able to add two runs to their total in the sixth off of hits by Bell and Young. Shoemake and Young each picked up RBI’s in the inning with Allanna Aguero and Shoemake both scoring runs. Valliant scored two in the fifth and sixth to extend their lead.
Kaleigh Watson and Holli Hembree picked up back to back singles in the seventh trying to get a rally started but the Valliant defense rose to the occasion making back to back force ground outs at third ending the game at 8-3 in favor of the Lady Dawgs.
Sophomores Legend Bell and Haley Young each ended 2-3 at the plate for Antlers with Gracie Shoemake, Kaleigh Watson, and Holli Hembree going 1-3. Young picked up two RBI’s and Shoemake added one. Shoemake scored two runs while Allanna Aguero scored one