CULLMAN, Ala. – After celebrating their first game on their new turf with a 9-3 win over Gardendale last week, the Lady Bearcats returned home Monday night to take on Decatur. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Cullman suffered its first loss on its new field, falling to the Lady Red Raiders 8-4. Decatur built a big lead early and the Lady Bearcats weren’t able to climb all the way back.
Both starters had the strikeout pitch working to start out the game as five of the six outs in the first inning came via strikeout. Cullman starter Brooklyn Morton worked around a two-out single in the second inning to get out of it unscathed. The Lady Bearcats looked to get on the scoreboard in their half of the second. Olivia Britton and Morton each drew one-out walks, then Britton and Kathryn Dueland, the courtesy runner for Morton, both moved up to second and third on a passed ball. An RBI groundout by Faith Guest brought home Britton to give Cullman a 1-0 lead.
Decatur got something cooking in the top of the third. A leadoff single, a one-out error, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with two outs. Another walk brought home a run as that tied the game up at one. Two pitches later, a bases-clearing double gave the Lady Red Raiders a 4-1 lead. Haley Shannon led off the bottom of the third with a single, then Taylor Au drew a walk. A passed ball moved them up to second and third and Shannon later scored on another passed ball to make it a 4-2 game.
Decatur added to their lead in the top of the fourth as an RBI single made it a 5-2 game and later put up some more runs in the sixth inning. A leadoff home run and back-to-back RBI singles with two outs pushed their lead to 8-2. The Lady Bearcats, though, answered in their half as Carlie Burnham hit a leadoff home run to cut it to 8-3, then with one out, Morton reached on a Lady Red Raider error. She moved up to second on a passed ball and later scored on another Decatur error to make it an 8-4 game.
The Lady Bearcats looked for yet another late rally in their final at-bats. Shannon lined a single to left field to lead off the inning and later moved up to second on another passed ball. Later in the inning, with two outs, Burnham and Britton each drew a walk to load the bases. But a strikeout ended the game as Cullman ended up falling to Decatur, 8-4.
Burnham finished with the home run for Cullman (12-14). Guest added an RBI as well. Shannon collected three hits in the game and Kylie Stracener chipped in with a hit of her own. The Lady Bearcats will look to bounce back Tuesday when they travel to take on Muscle Shoals in a huge area game.
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