Lady Bucks end softball season with 26-20 record

  Five Motlow Lady Bucks were named to the regular season All-TCCAA conference team. From left; Haley Hinshaw, Kylie Thackerson, Ciera Dobbins, Kendall Durard and Madison Woodruff.

Five Motlow Lady Bucks were named to the regular season All-TCCAA conference team. From left; Haley Hinshaw, Kylie Thackerson, Ciera Dobbins, Kendall Durard and Madison Woodruff.

The Motlow Lady Bucks weren’t able to generate much offense at the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament and saw their 2018 softball season come to a close with a pair of losses earlier this week in Chattanooga.

The Lady Bucks (26-20, 23-11) capped off a season that saw them finish fourth in the TCCAA conference standings, the highest finish for the program since 2011. The tournament wasn’t kind to Motlow however as they dropped a 5-2 decision to Cleveland State Sunday and a 6-3 game to Dyersburg State Monday.

The early tournament exit takes nothing away from a solid regular season by a team dominated by freshmen. The 23-11 conference record featured four-game sweeps over two conference opponents and 3-1 series wins over four others. 

In Chattanooga, the Lady Bucks just couldn’t find the formula needed to advance. In Sunday’s opening game, Cleveland scored two runs in both the second and third innings and the Lady Bucks weren’t able to mount a comeback, only scoring single runs in the third and fifth innings.

Kendall Durard (13-9) took the loss, pitching 1.2 innings, while Samantha King tossed the final 5.1 innings. Motlow managed only five hits, with two by leadoff hitter Kylie Thackerson and one each from Breanna Owens, Ariel McAtee and King. Madison Hopkins had the only run batted in, driving in King with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Thackerson scored the other Motlow run on a Cleveland State error in the fifth inning.

Monday saw the Lady Bucks fall behind early once again, as Dyersburg State scored two runs in the first and single runs in the second and third innings. Motlow closed the gap with a pair of runs in the sixth inning, but Dyersburg answered with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth.

King (4-6) got the start and took the loss, allowing three runs in two innings. Durard pitched 3.2 innings and gave up three runs with two strikeouts, while Sarah Wilson got the final out from the circle in the seventh inning.

Motlow again managed only five hits, with two by Durard and one each from Thackerson, McAtee and Madison Woodruff. Haley Hinshaw drove in a run in the third inning, scoring McAtee on a ground out to short. Durard drove in the final two runs with a home run in the sixth inning, her fifth home run of the season.

Sophomore Miranda Cooksey led the Lady Bucks in home runs with eight and drove in 29 runs on the season. Classmate Breanna Owens hit a solid .320 with 24 RBI and also went 5-2 in the circle with 31 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched.

Head Coach Janice Morey will enter her fourth season next year with most of her top players returning, including seven who hit over .300 and two pitchers, King and Durard, who combined for over 75 percent of the team’s innings in the circle.

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