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Gophers get a 9-8 win over rival Hornets

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HUNTER: Rossville senior Allison Hunter slides by Cam Cornell to score a run.
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BURRIS: Clinton Prairie senior shortstop Kylie Burris throws to first base for an out.
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CORNELL: Clinton Prairie sophomore Cam Cornell batted 3-3 with a double and an RBI in the Gophers’ win over the Rossville Hornets.
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TAYLOR: Rossville senior Cory Taylor batted 2-3 with a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored in Monday’s 9-8 loss to the Gophers.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Clinton Prairie softball team lost its early lead in the fourth inning but recovered to seize a big, 9-8 win over the county- and conference-rival Hornets on Monday at Rossville.

Trailing 8-6 in the sixth inning, the Gophers were able to load the bases and then tie the game at 8-8. Then, in the top of the seventh, a well-placed bunt by senior Holly Loveless brought Katelyn Ramsey in for the winning score.

“It was a good ballgame,” Clinton Prairie head coach Randy Cooper said. “Both teams battled and both teams hit the ball. I thought, for us, it came down to execution. There in the seventh inning, we got a runner on and got her to second. We talk about executing when you need to execute, and that is what we did. The kids didn’t quit, and I am proud of them for that.”

The Gophers led early in the game when they loaded the bases in the top of the opening inning and then scored the first run of the game when Cam Cornell drew a walk. Another run came in when Rebekah Stephens was hit by a pitch with the bases still loaded, and then Molly Thomas hit a two-run single to help Clinton Prairie lead 4-2 by the end of the first inning.

An error helped Prairie extend its lead to 6-2 in the third inning, but the Hornets were not going to fade away.

An RBI double by Emma Baumgardt followed by a two-run double by Cami Fadness trimmed the margin to 6-4 in the bottom of the third inning, and then a two-run triple by Cory Taylor highlighted a big fourth inning for the Hornets, in which they took an 8-6 lead.

“They went ahead of us by a couple of runs, but we didn’t give up,” Cooper said. “That says a lot for this group of girls, I think.”

Cornell batted 3-3 with a double and an RBI in the Gophers’ win while Thomas went 2-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, Stephens went 1-2 with two RBIs and a run scored, Loveless went 2-3 with an RBI, Kylie Burris went 1-4 with two runs scored, and Shalynn Barnett finished 2-4 with a run scored.

“Shay is doing a nice job for us at the plate, and she has always done a great job on defense. So, I am really proud of Shay,” Cooper said. “Cam Cornell did an excellent job behind the plate, and she hit well tonight. I think those two girls definitely deserve some praise.

“It was definitely an important conference game, and we start off 1-0, but I know we are going to see Rossville again,” Cooper added. “It will be under different circumstance, of course, with the county and sectional tournaments coming up. It is good to get one on them right now, but I know they are just going to keep coming. And the weather is going to get better. I think we are all waiting for that.”

Taylor led the Hornets at the plate, going 2-3 with a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored while Baumgardt batted 2-3 with a double and two RBIs, Maggie Deboy went 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, Darci Huffman went 1-4 with a double and an RBI, Allison Hunter went 1-4 with a runs scored, and Fadness finished 1-3 with an RBI.

“Cami was one of our reserves last year, so we put her in a starting position, and it is a lot of pressure,” Rossville head coach Amanda Szabela said. “She really had a nice tag tonight to the outfield. Lindsey Roberts is another sophomore that didn’t see much varsity experience last year. She played much more of a support role. Freshman Emma Lawson had some really nice plays at second base and put the ball in play. Things will come around. I am not too worried about that.

“This is one of those games that was a big measuring stick for us, and we really wanted to get that ‘W” but, in the grand scheme of things, I think we learned a lot in this game,” she added. “We are making a lot of errors, which is the killer right now. We always see Prairie a bunch during the season, so it is always one of those things that are not going to go away. We will get another crack at them, or two. Some years we get three. So, it is definitely a team that we will see again. If I have to pick the games to win, I want the one at the end of the season.”

At Rossville

GOPHERS 9, HORNETS 8

Clinton Prairie 402 002 1 - 9 8 3

Rossville 202 400 0 - 8 10 5

Clinton Prairie ab r h bi

P. Ray 4 1 0 0

H. Loveless 3 0 1 1

S. Barnett 5 1 1 0

K. Burris 4 2 1 0

C. Cornell 3 0 3 1

Han. Wilson 4 0 0 1

R. Stephens 2 1 1 2

M. Thomas 3 1 1 2

L. Snyder 3 0 0 0

K. Boller 1 0 0 0

K. Ramsey 1 1 0 0

R. Ward 0 1 0 0

K. Maish 0 1 0 0

Totals 33 9 8 7

Rossville ab r h bi

A. Hunter 4 1 1 0

C. Underwood 4 1 1 0

M. Deboy 3 2 2 1

C. Taylor 3 3 2 3

E. Baumgardt 3 0 2 2

D. Huffman 4 0 1 1

C. Fadness 3 0 1 1

L. Roberts 4 0 0 0

E. Lawson 4 0 0 0

M. Lynch 0 1 0 0

Totals 32 8 10 8

Pitching ip h r er bb so

Clinton Prairie

H. Loveless, W 7 10 8 8 3 9

Rossville

Baumgardt, L 7 8 9 2 4 2