Raiders win three, but four games canceled due to rain
The Raider softball squad managed to play just three of seven scheduled games this past week due to the rainy weather, which has drenched the county and the Southeast this summer.
The precipitation hampered the annual Madison County Leadoff Classic, which includes several area teams. Raider head coach Doug Kesler says the tournament won’t be rescheduled, but he will seek additional games for his team.
“Not as far as the tournament,” said Kesler of rescheduling. “But we lost four games. So I’m trying to pick up four games.
And the most obvious would be teams that were in the tournament, because they lost games also. So I sent an email out yesterday trying to set something up, but I haven’t gotten much response yet.”
While four of Madison County’s six tournament games were rained out, the Raiders did hit the field twice at the Madison County Recreation Department and grabbed victories in both games. The Red Raiders then beat Eastside 9-1 Tuesday in their region opener.
Madison County opened the tournament with a 5-2 win over Franklin County on Wednesday and defeated Walnut Grove 7-5 on Thursday. Friday night’s tournament action was rained out and the rain continued on Saturday ending tournament action around 12:30.
Madison County was out to a 3-0 lead over Oglethorpe County after one inning following a Dani Lukas homerun when play was called.
On Wednesday, the Raiders posted five runs in the second inning and used a strong pitching performance by Randee Bettis to hold on for the win.
“I thought Randee pitched well against them and we played pretty good defense again,” said Kesler.
Bettis went the distance allowing two runs on five hits while striking out seven Lady Lions and walking four. Haley Gordon led the Raiders’ hitting with two hits followed by one each from Courtney Alexander, Kristen Moran, Elizabeth Nix, Dani Lukas and Jorden Williams. Madison County’s second inning was the key to victory as the Raiders posted their only runs of the game. Sophomore Elizabeth Nix was called on to pinch hit and delivered with a with a grand slam home run giving the Raiders a 5-0 lead.
“She came off the bench and had a big hit there that wound up being the difference in the game,” said Kesler. “She hadn’t had a lot of opportunity to get playing time yet. The bases were loaded and Bri Carr was up to bat. Bri is primarily a bunter/slapper. She can hit it too. But we just felt like we’d give Elizabeth a chance there. And it was the first pitch and she hit it out. That had to be a great thrill for her, especially being her first varsity home run.”
Haley Gordon opened the inning by reaching on an infield error. She later scored on a single by Courtney Alexander for the game’s first run. Kristen Moran followed with a hit to right field and Ivie Drake walked to load the bases. Nix was then called on to pinch hit and she came through with the blast to left that cleared the bases.
Franklin County pushed across one of their first two runs in the top of the fourth inning and added another in the sixth.
The Lady Lions threatened for more in the sixth frame but ended up stranding runners at every base. Franklin County put a runner on base in each of the seven innings, but Bettis battled back each time to retire any threat the Lions threw at her. Franklin County stranded a total of nine base runners in the contest.
Against Walnut Grove, the Raiders survived four solo home runs by the Warriors and grabbed a 7-5 win.
Alexis Damron took the mound for the Raiders in the contest.
“Lex pitched pretty good,” said Kesler. “She was having some back issues and pitched through some pain. I think maybe one of those four home runs would have been a home run on our field. The other ones would have probably been fly balls. I told her she needed to remember that.”
Dani Lukas answered the Warriors’ long balls with a blast of her own, slamming a two-run shot in the second.
“Walnut Grove is a good team,” said Kesler. “They have a lot of hitters and they’re well-coached and have good pitching. So I’m sure we’ll have at least a couple of more battles with them this season.”
MADISON COUNTY 9, EASTSIDE 1
The Madison County softball team improved to 5-0 Tuesday, downing Eastside at home 9-1 in five innings for its first region victory.
The Raiders scored six in the third inning, one in the fourth and two in the fifth, while Eastside posted its lone run in the third.
Randee Bettis picked up the win, giving up just one hit and no earned runs in five innings, while fanning two and walking one.
Ivie Drake was 2-for-2 with a double. Dani Lukas went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Haley Gordon was 2-for-3 with a double. Jorden Williams was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Both Courtney Alexander and Casie Wade had a hit and an RBI.