Three Rivers softball started its 2019 regular season in a big way.
The Raiders hit the road to face Arkansas State Friday for a doubleheader. In the first of their two games, the Raiders broke through offensively for a 13-5 win in six innings.
Three Rivers scored started its season with three runs right off the bat in the first inning. With the score tied at three in the third, Kristyn Carpenter, Gracie King and Lana Reed all scored runs to break the tie and start a rout.
"It was cold and foggy, but it was not too bad," Three Rivers coach Jeff Null said. "The umpire was pretty tough on the pitchers, I thought, so they did a pretty good job hanging in there."
With Carpenter on and no one out, King drew a walk, setting up Reed to make a statement in her collegiate debut. Reed blasted a home run to drive in three runs and catapult the Raiders into a comfortable lead.
Arkansas State closed the gap and made the score 6-5 with a pair of runs in the fourth inning before the Three Rivers offense caught fire.
"We had a couple of errors in there. Heck, I don't know, we probably had about four errors or so," Null said. "The defense let down, kind of let them stay in it. Offensively, we just kept plugging away. … We haven't been outside but a couple of times to get a whole lot of live work outside on defense."
Reed drew a one-out walk in the fifth to get the offense going. Then, Mary Yandell and Lexi Campbell hit a single and double respectively. Kryslyn Colvin followed with a single, and the Raiders finished the inning with three runs in the sequence to take control. Campbell finished with two hits, two runs scored and four RBIs in a pair of at-bats.
The Raiders' defense forced a 1-2-3 fifth from Arkansas State to enter the sixth with a chance to put the game away. They did exactly that.
Carpenter and King each hit singles to start the inning and put two on with nobody out. After Allison Pingel and Reed both flew out, Yandell and Campbell stepped up with two outs. Yandell reached base after getting hit by a pitch, and Campbell recorded a single. Halle Gooch connected on a single to drive in the final run and end the game via run rule.
King led the way with three runs scored, while Carpenter, Reed, Yandell and Campbell all scored two. Jennifer Morey and Pingel finished the season opener with one run scored. Pingel added two RBIs to her tally.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Three Rivers controlled a 10-2 win for the sweep. The Raiders' offense again went off late in the game. Leading 4-2, Three Rivers put five runs on the board in the fifth to secure the win behind 16 total hits.
Reed started the fifth by drawing a walk. Two batters later, Kristian Loman homered to left-center to score herself and Reed with one out. Katie Young and Morey recorded back-to-back singles, and Carpenter singled singled to bring home Young. King and Pingel each drove in runs to finish the inning's scoring with the Raiders comfortably ahead.
The Raiders cut down their errors in the back end of the doubleheader, committing one compared to four in the first game. Carpenter led the way with three RBIs on a 2-for-3 game at the plate. Young scored three runs to boost the offense.
"The second game, we faced a better pitcher and hit the ball pretty well, so I was pleased," Null said. I was pretty pleased overall."
Abby Gann got the start at pitcher in game two. She threw five innings and allowed five hits and one earned run while striking out nine with no walks. Adrienne Stucker pitched one inning and allowed two hits while striking out one.
"The pitchers just kept pounding the zone, and the defense kind of settled down and was at least solid. The defense just cleaned it up a little bit," Null said.
The Raiders will get two weeks off before traveling to Booneville, Mississippi, to face Southwest Tennessee at 11 a.m. on Feb. 15.
Nate Fields- Daily American Republic