BAUXITE - The Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals softball team continued their season in the opening round of the Bauxite FCA Invitational on Wednesday when they took on Robinson. After jumping out to a decent lead, Robinson tied the game late before allowing Harmony Grove to take the lead and win 5-3 on a walk-off.
Starting Lady Cardinals pitcher Kristen Dempsey sat down the first two Robinson hitters via the grounder and a strikeout before allowing the third to reach on a walk. That was all the damage that Robinson could do as Dempsey sat down the final hitter on another ground out.
The Lady Cardinals wasted no time getting on the board as they pushed two runs across in the first inning. Morgan Ramsey reached base on a walk. A strikeout by Laura Britt followed by another walk, this time to Macy Coffee, left the Lady Cardinals with two on and one out with Dempsey at the dish. WIth a 2-0 count, Dempsey laced a triple into left-center to score both Ramsey and Coffee to make the score 2-0 early. Robinson ended the inning by striking out back-to-back hitters in the first.
Dempsey ran into some control issues out of the circle in the top of the second inning. After striking out the first hitter, Dempsey hit one and walked another to put two on with only one out. Dempsey ended the top of the inning strong with two strikeouts looking.
The Lady Cardinals continued to score in the second as they pushed one more across to make it 3-0. Katie Wright walked and later scored after advancing to third on two passed balls before scoring on a wild pitch from Robinson. The Lady Cardinals did get another batter on third but could not score in the second as they ended with a strikeout and a ground out to first.
Robinson took advantage of Dempsey’s control problems in the third. After the lead-off batter lined out to first, the next reached on a single and later reached third on two errors. With one on third, Dempsey looked as if she was going to escape as she forced the next batter to ground out. That was not the case as she allowed the next three runners to reach on walks. Robinson also scored their first runner via the error, the third of the inning by Harmony Grove.
Dempsey stuck out the last batter to halt the score at 3-1 Harmony Grove.
Harmony Grove looked to have something brewing in their half of the third after Coffee led off with a big triple followed by a walk to Dempsey. But, after reaching base, Harmony Grove found themselves with none on and two outs after Dempsey tried to steal second to score Coffee. After being tagged out at second, Coffee got a late jump at third and was gunned down at the plate. A strikeout by Robyn Baxley ended the hopes for the Lady Cardinals in the third.
With under 20 minutes left in the 75-minute game, Robinson continued to take advantage of Dempsey’s control issues. After starting the fourth with two strikeouts, she put a runner on via the walk. Followed by a single and two walks, Robinson found themselves with the bases loaded. Another walk from Dempsey made the score 3-2. Another error by the Lady Cardinals allowed Robinson to tie the score at 3-3 late in the game.
Another strikeout ended the inning for Robinson.
With five minutes left in the game, Harmony Grove sent the bottom half of the lineup to the plate beginning with Torie Simmons. After getting in an 0-2 count, Simmons worked hard to lead off the inning with a walk.
A single and stolen base by Wright on the next at bat left the Lady Cardinals with runners on second and third with no outs. With time expiring, the Lady Cardinals sent freshman Kristen Fletcher to the plate. After flying out in the second inning, Fletcher played the hero as she doubled to right field to score Simmons and Wright to end the game with a 5-3 victory in favor of the Lady Cardinals. With the win, Harmony Grove moved to 4-1 on the year.
Dempsey walked eight for the second straight game. She also struck out eight. As for the reason for the control issues, head coach Sammi Massey said fatigue was the cause.
“She is having some back problems and I think a lot of that control is due to her adjusting around that,” Massey said.
Dempsey threw over 400 pitches during last weekend’s tournament in Louisiana. With only Sunday off before playing Monday, Dempsey’s arm was simply tired.
Dempsey led the Lady Cardinals at the plate with one hit and two RBIs. Three other Lady Cardinals added a hit in the contest.
The rest of the Bauxite tournament was canceled due to rain. The Lady Cardinals will take the field again next week.