Tuscola softball closes out home schedule

Apr. 25—Tuscola softball closed out their home schedule on Thursday evening against A.C. Reynolds. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, the visiting Rockets grabbed a 7-1 victory.

"They have good pitching," Tuscola coach Lindsay Markos said. "They're good hitters. They're aggressive on the bases. That's what we try to do as well. It wasn't the outcome that we absolutely wanted, but we did some good things, and we're going to learn and take it through the rest of the season."

Markos said the game had been scheduled from the beginning of the year, but did not seem like it was going to happen due to Reynolds needing to make up a conference game. However, that opponent forfeited due to injuries, opening the door for this game to happen once again.

Reynolds struck first, putting up two runs in the top of the first inning. With the bases loaded, a walk scored the first run. That was followed by a defensive error scoring the second run.

The Rockets kept their foot on the gas in the second inning when junior Jayla Dotson hit a solo home run to put the visitors up 3-0.

The Mountaineers weren't going to give up, however. In the bottom of the third, freshman Alexis Markos singled on a bunt with two outs. That was followed by senior Allison Setzer singling and allowing Markos to come around and score.

Setzer is one of two seniors, along with Karsen Cherry, who were playing their final game on their home field in high school.

"Our two seniors are great leaders," Markos said. "They care so much. They want to do their best for the team and the school. They're a huge part of the program and we're definitely going to miss them."

In the bottom of the fourth, Tuscola looked to be stealing some momentum away. Junior Addi Sampson kicked the inning off with a double, which was followed by a single from junior Kenzie Cook.

Cook ended up moving up to second right behind Sampson, but three straight strikeouts led to a missed opportunity for the Mounties.

"We tried to play the short game," Markos said. "We tried to execute some bunts and it just didn't work in our favor. I think they called the right pitches because they assumed what we were going to do. They pitched a few low and some high that we went after. We just got down in the count too fast."

Not capitalizing on the chance to score seemed to swing the momentum heavily towards Reynolds.

The Rockets scored two runs in each of the next innings to put the game out of reach.

Tuscola now looks to turn things around quickly. On Friday evening, the Mounties will be in Canton for the second leg of the County Clash. Pisgah claimed the first game of the series earlier this year in a shootout, 15-9.

"It's something we've worked on since day one," Markos said about the quick turnaround. "We know a lot about Pisgah. We're always up for a rivalry game like that. We're excited to play, and we're motivated after things didn't go our way the first time."