By KIM NELSON
BLACKSBURG–A big first inning for Blacksburg was all it took to hang on to a victory over Pulaski County in jayvee softball action on Friday. The Bruins edged the visiting Cougars, 9-6, in Blacksburg.
Blacksburg quickly jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the opening stanza. Pulaski County hurler Callie Ratcliffe gave up five singles combined with a walk, two Cougar errors, and a passed ball to let Blacksburg take the lead.
The Cougars got one run back in the second when Sindie Hedge and Jade Murray connected on back-to-back singles off of Bruin pitcher Katie Muscatello. After a fly-out, Cougar catcher Sierra Martin singled home Hedge to make it 6-1.
Blacksburg added two runs in their half of the inning to push its lead to 8-1 off of three singles, two passed balls, and two stolen bases. The Bruins’ final run came in the third when Kelly McMahon doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch by Murray in for Ratcliffe on the mound. McMahon scored on a ground out.
It looked as if that would be it for the game, but the Cougars came alive in the fifth.
Ratcliffe singled, stole second, and scored on a hit by Ashley Curtis. Gravely ripped a single up the middle to plate Curtis. She took second on sacrifice by Tayler Ratcliffe, moved to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error to make it 9-4.
In the Cougars’ final at-bat with one out, Gravely singled to right, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and crossed home on a double by Robertson. Robertson went to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice by Hedge to close the gap to 9-6. The final Cougar batter flew out to left to end the game.
Ratcliffe took the loss. She worked two innings, giving up eight runs (five earned) on eight hits. She walked one. Murray finished the contest, giving up one run (earned) on three hits. She walked two and struck out three across three innings.
Pulaski County and Blacksburg each collected 11 hits in the game. Gravely finished with three, Murray and Martin each had two, and Ratcliffe, Curtis, Robertson, and Hedge each had one.
Pulaski County dropped to 6-5 overall with the loss and hosted Christiansburg on Friday. The Cougars will travel to Cave Spring on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. contest.