Warriors take down Cougars in pitching duel

May 3—Southwestern, winners of five of their last six, and Somerset Christian, a much improved squad this season, met on the softball diamond on Thursday evening, with a perfect district record on the line for the Warriors. After claiming the earlier contest between the two rivals 11-1, the Warriors were expecting a similarly easy time to dispatch the Lady Cougars. What was awaiting them, however, was a strong defensive showing by both teams, with Jordyn McDonald and Regan Childers turning in great outings on the mound. Southwestern had just enough offense to get by their opponents however, as they defeated Somerset Christian 3-0 to clinch a perfect 6-0 district record.

Kylie Dalton was the first player to draw a hit in the top of the first, as she hit a double to deep left field that nearly cleared the wall with one out. The Cougars were able to hold her at third to close the top of the frame though, as Childers struck out the last batter. It was a quick bottom of the inning, with McDonald sitting down the side in order, including getting her first strikeout of the ball game.

Childers got in her rhythm in the second, striking out all three batters she faced. Lydia Fisher got the Cougars going offensively in the bottom of the second with a single to right field. A sacrifice bunt by Caroline Mounce allowed Fisher to reach second, before she made it to third before the second out. McDonald was able to prevent the score with a strikeout.

Southwestern wasn't able to get anything going in their half of the third, with Childers still shutting down the offense as she added another strikeout to her total. It was a quick half-inning for the Cougars as well, as McDonald struck out two out of the three batters. Through three, it seemed like the first team to score here would win in a very fast-paced game so far.

Dalton led off the top of the fourth with a single, advancing to second into scoring position before another Childers strikeout. Abigail Whitescarver finally broke the scoreless tie, hitting a line drive to left for an RBI triple to put the Warriors on top 1-0. Childers sat down the next two batters to end the scoring threat there, including adding another strikeout.

Elisabeth Scott drew a walk in the bottom of the frame, with an error by the second baseman allowing Fisher to reach safely with one out to put runners on the corners. Mounce was also walked, loading the bases up for the Cougars and giving them a prime chance at taking the lead. However, McDonald was able to calm down on the mound and sit down the final two batters, including a three-pitch strikeout on the last batter, to keep the score 1-0.

It didn't take the Warriors long to add to their lead in the fifth, as the third pitch Macie Gwin seen was absolutely hammered to center field for a home run in a shot that was gone as soon as it left the barrel of the bat. The next three batters were sat down in order, including another strikeout from Childers, to prevent any more runs from coming across. McDonald threw just four pitches in the bottom of the fifth and sat the side down in order as the Warriors now led 2-0.

A Childers strikeout began the sixth before Brynn Troxell was walked. Troxell was then caught stealing second base during the next at-bat, before a second Childers strikeout stopped the Warrior offense there. McDonald again had a quick time at the mound, throwing just eight pitches this time as she sat the side down in order.

Two quick outs put the Warriors down to their final out in the seventh before a Gwin single. Danielle Taylor came in to run for Gwin and was able to steal second to get into scoring position. Taylor made it to home following an RBI single from Arabella Lowery to make it 3-0. A single from Lexi Martin put two runners on base for Southwestern but a pop out ended the top of the inning.

Somerset Christian was down to their final three outs and needed just three runs to tie this one up. However, a dominant showing for McDonald continued as she struck out two of the three batters she faced to retire the side in order, cementing a 3-0 win for the Warriors.

The Warriors were led by Whitescarver, Gwin and Lowery with one RBI apiece, with Gwin adding a home run. Dalton and Martin also added hits in the game. Dalton had two stolen bases in the game, with Troxell and Taylor each having one. McDonald had the complete game shutout in her win on the mound, allowing just one hit with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Southwestern improves to 18-8 and will next take on Green County at home on Friday before taking a short trip to take on the Somerset Lady Jumpers on Monday.

Fisher had the lone hit for the Lady Cougars, with Scott and Mounce also making it on base by earning walks. Childers, despite earning the loss on the mound, had a solid outing in her seven innings pitched, allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts.

Somerset Christian falls to 10-6 and will next host Barbourville on Saturday in the Cougar Classic Triangle.

Jacob Pratt is the Sports Editor of the Commonwealth Journal and can be reached at