Every victory is enjoyed but for the Saline High School softball program the one on Friday night was special. The Lady Bobcats beat Pleasant Hill 20-6 to win for the 100th time in the history of the program that began in 2014.
For head coach Colby Hough, who has been there for every practice and game since the team was formed eight years ago, the victory was especially sweet and caused him to reflect on growth of program.
“It made me think of all the players 8 years ago (and the two years after that) that rode a bus 40 minutes one way to practice at the Rec Center in Jonesboro and play all away games for the first three years,” said Hough. “They laid the foundation for what this group gets to enjoy today.
Hough, who is a Saline High graduate, is also very appreciative of the opportunity that his girls have had, just to be able to represent the school on the field.
“I’m very thankful for the support of the SHS administration, current and the ones that pushed to start the softball and baseball programs,” continued Hough. “I’m also very thankful for the support from all the families over the years, the coaches Ryan Roberts, Michael Wise, Jermini Malone, and Haylee Terrell, and every player that’s had the opportunity to play softball for Saline High School. I remind the girls all the time that there are hundreds that came through (including myself) that only dreamed of putting on a uniform to play softball or baseball and they should be grateful they get to do it.”
The victory, which came in the Lady Bobcats second game of the Red Rivers Tournament, was the fifth in their last six games and improved the Lady Bobcats to 6-8 overall on the year after opening the season by losing seven of their first eight contests. The one loss during the streak came in their tourney opener when they dropped a tight 8-5 contest against Class 3A Mansfield.
While the victory against Pleasant Hill was a milestone win the 20-5 victory against Dodson on Thursday was important as well as it moved Saline to 1-0 in district 1B play. The win was crucial to district title hopes because unlike many LHSAA district’s who play home and home series, in district 2B there is only one game played against each team.
Bobcats lose district opener in baseball
Saline’s 6-4 victory over Castor on March 10th didn’t count in the district standing although both are 1B members. The 16-8 loss against Doyline four days later did. In between was a 13-0 victory over Arcadia for Bienville Parish bragging rights then on Wednesday a 6-4 loss to Calvin followed that left the Bobcats with a 2-3 overall record.
Saline got their inaugural victory of the season by scoring three in the fifth inning to rally from a run down twice over the first four frames. After Castor had scored two to open the game, the Bobcats cut the lead in half when Shawn Staggs singled in Jacob Jones who had singled and stolen second. Staggs tied it up in the third after getting hit by a pitch, stealing second, going to third on a passed ball and scoring on Landon Horsefallon’s single.
Castor once again went ahead with two runs in the top of the fourth only to see Saline rally again thanks to some wildness by Tiger pitching and Saline’s only extra base hit of the game.
Ethan Roberts stroked a double to score Will Dyson and Jones, who had gotten on base per free passes, to give Saline a 5-4 lead. Dyson added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when he singled, stole second and came home on Drew Golden’s RBI single. Roberts not only knocked in the run that put Saline on top he also grabbed the win on the mound after throwing the final 2 2/3 innings in relief of Staggs. Caleb Shirley took the loss for Castor.
In the 2B opener for both teams a 5-3 Saline lead after four innings became a 9-5 deficit after five as Doyline scored six in the frame and then waltzed their way to victory with seven more in the top of the seventh innings. Six walks and four errors proved to be the downfall.
Saline took the lead three times over the first five innings when Jacob Jones and Will Dyson scored in the first only to see Doyline tie it up in their half of the inning. Again, Saline went on top in the second but again, Doyline tied it up in their at bat.
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