Placed in Pool D in Saturday’s Cameron Softball Tournament, the Trenton Lady Bulldogs survived an extra-inning challenge from Richmond, dominated their middle games against Savannah and St. Joseph Central, before a slow start in a championship showdown with St. Joseph Benton relegated THS to second place in the 12-school event.
In the season opener, starting at 8 o’clock on Saturday morning, Trenton and Richmond were locked in a scoreless tie until the top of the 4th inning when the Lady Spartans opened the scoring with an RBI double. Trenton’s offense struggled with runners in scoring position all game long but finally broke through in the bottom of the 5th on an inside the park home run by sophomore third baseman Lexi Whitaker. Using the “international tie-breaker rules” after 6 innings, Trenton’s pitching and defense kept the game tied at 1 until the bottom of the 8th, when Ashten Whitaker started on second base, advanced to third on Lexi Whitaker’s bunt and scored on Ainsley Tolson’s RBI single. Tolson led the offensive attack, going 3-4 with an RBI. Mykah Hurley, Maci Moore and Ashten and Lexi Whitaker had the other hits for Trenton. Tolson was strong in the circle as well, allowing only 4 hits while striking out 8.
Perhaps with a sense of relaxation after the tense season-opening win, the Lady Bulldog bats came alive against the MEC’s Savannah Lady Savages. Junior Mykah Hurley scored on a Savannah error after doubling in the first inning. Senior Jayden Roeder scored on an Ashten Whitaker sacrifice fly after tripling in the second inning. Junior Salem Croy doubled home Tolson and Hurley in the third inning and scored on Taylor Richman’s RBI single to make it 5-0 after three full frames. Lexi Whitaker singled to lead off the 4th and scored along with Hurley on Croy’s 2 RBI single. Trenton then got hits from Maci Moore, Roeder (her second triple of the game), and Ashten Whitaker, with a walk to Tolson, followed by a 2 run triple from Hurley to make it 11-0. Savannah scratched across a run off of McKayla Blackburn in the bottom of the 5th before Maci Moore ended the game by throwing out a runner at home from center field. All nine Trenton batters contributed to the offensive attack including 2 each from Roeder, Hurley(3 runs, 2 RBI) and Croy (4 RBI’s). Blackburn allowed 5 hits while striking out 7 over her 5 innings.
By virtue of their 2-0 record in pool play, THS advanced to the Championship Bracket against the winner of Pool A, the Central Lady Indians. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third when Lexi Whitaker’s second home run of the day easily cleared the 200 foot fence in left center. Ainsley Tolson followed with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mykah Hurley and scored on an RBI ground out by Salem Croy. Central bounced back in the top of the 4th, getting 3 hits and 2 runs off Tolson. Trenton responded in the bottom of the 4th inning. With two outs Ashten Whitaker drew a walk and scored when a Lexi Whitaker single to center was displayed into an error by the Indians center fielder. Lexi scored on an RBI double by Tolson and Hurley followed with her own double to score Tolson, making it 5-2. Trenton got another run in the 5th when Kennedy Norton scored on Ashten Whitaker’s RBI single. Tolson, Richman and Lexi Whitaker led the offense with 2 hits each. Hurley, Moore and Ashten Whitaker also had hits in the game. Tolson kept the Indian offense in check, allowing only 4 hits and striking out 5 as Trenton advanced to the championship game.
Through three games, Trenton’s defense had played well, turning multiple double plays in holding their opponents to 4 runs over 20 innings. However, in Saturday night’s title game, a pair of errors gave opportunity to the Lady Cardinals of Benton. With the door opened, Benton got to Tolson with a double and a three-run homer in the 1st inning, putting Trenton in a 4-0 hole they never escaped. Down 5-0 in the third inning, Tolson lofted a sacrifice fly to score Ashten Whitaker. Benton bounced back with another run in the 4th inning to make the score 6-1. Trenton rallied with RBIs from Croy and Moore in the 6th inning but could not complete the rally, with the 90 minute time limit buzzer ending the game. Tolson allowed 6 hits and struck out 8. Maci Moore led the offense going 2-3 with Lexi Whitaker and Salem Croy collecting Trenton’s other hits in the game.
While disappointed with the title game defeat, Coach John Cowling left Cameron generally pleased with the Lady Bulldog four-game performance, saying, “We got into this tournament this year to see some teams and also see some bigger schools to strengthen our schedule. After seeing three Class 3 teams and a Class 4 team today we did just that. Even though the girls were disappointed with our second place finish I was happy with our play today. Our defense made several great plays and was solid all day until the championship game, our pitching was great and I think we saw just how deep our lineup can be this year. We ran out of steam against Benton but that doesn’t change how well we played in our first three games.”
Benton went 4-0 in winning the tournament, defeating Lawson and Maysville in Pool B action, before defeating Pool C champion Lafayette in the semifinals, and Trenton in the final. Lafayette beat Central in an all-St. Joseph third place-game, 6-5. Lafayette swept through Pool C, shutting out Platte Valley 4-0 and taking down Excelsior Springs 12-7. Excelsior Springs beat Platte Valley 5-4. The host Cameron Lady Dragons went 1-1 in Pool A, suffering a 13-0 shutout to Central, before rebounding to defeat DeKalb. Platte Valley lost the 9th place game to DeKalb, 9-8, but did claim a 1-0 win over Maysville in their first ‘bracket’ game of the day.
Trenton jumps into Grand River Conference play this week, hosting Maysville on Tuesday night and traveling to Princeton on Thursday night. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 first pitches. The home opener with the Lady Wolverines will be broadcast live on Hot Country Z 101.7.