(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
Well, if anyone in the general vicinity of Don Hewett Field needed some heat Thursday night, they were close to a source. The bats of the Fort Scott High School softball team were on fire against rival Pittsburg and the Tigers claimed a 12-2, 11-9 sweep of the Purple Dragons in Southeast Kansas League play.
Fort Scott's pitching and defense struggled in the early innings of the nightcap. But the Tigers were able to rally from a 3-0 deficit after 2 1/2 innings and a 8-4 disadvantage after 4 1/2 to take the win.
The Tigers belted out 21 hits on the night. Four players had more than one hit in the opener and seven had at least one. The third, fourth and fifth batters in Fort Scott's order combined for 8 of the Tigers' 10 hits in the second game.
Fort Scott (2-0 league, 3-1 overall), playing its first league games, is one of three teams unbeaten in the Southeast Kansas League. Labette County is on top at 6-0 after sweeping Columbus Thursday night. And Independence is also 2-0 after sweeping Coffeyville Thursday.
The Tigers scored in every inning of the five-inning, run-ruled opener. Riley Brown tripled with one out in the first and scored on Mackenzie Jackman's single to right. Jackman scored on Kenzie Heatherly's single over the head of the left fielder. Heatherly, who advanced to second on the throw home, scored on Delane gray's single.
Pittsburg (1-3, 3-3) scored in the top of the second to get within 3-1. The Tigers added three more in the bottom of the inning. Ericah Shoemaker drew a walk to lead off the frame. Maddi Allen walked. Hannah Tourtillott grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out. Brown reached on an error that allowed Allen to score. Jackman singled between short and third to bring in Tourtillott. Brown scored the third run on the back end of a double steal.
Two more went up in the third to make it 8-1. Shelby Maycumber and Shoemaker hit back-to-back singled leading off the inning. Allen reached on an error, which allowed Maycumber to score. Tourtillott also got on base via error, which plated Shoemaker.
The Dragons got another run in the top of the fourth. Fort Scott got it back in the bottom of the inning as Allen drove in Sidney Maycumber, who had singled with one out, stolen second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Brown reached on an error leading off the fifth. She stole second, then Heatherly singled with one out with the runners moving up when the left fielder made a bad throw. Brown scored on a passed ball. Gray and Sidney Maycumber drew walks to load the bases. Shelby Maycumber's single to right-center scored Heatherly with the run that forced the 10-run rule to end the game.
Brown, Jackman, Heatherly and Shelby Maycumber each had two hits for the Tigers. Andie Casper was 3 for 3 for Pittsburg but was stranded on base each time she got on. Megan Burdick was 2 for 3 while Bethanne Elliott scored both Dragon runs.
Jenna Harper allowed 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5 for the Tigers, who committed just one error. Pittsburg was charged with 7 errors whil pitcher Mercedes Vogel allowed 8 earned runs on 11 hits and 7 walks. She struck out 3 batters.
The Dragons jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the second game as the Tigers committed a pair of errors. But the Tigers rallied with 4 runs in the bottom of the third.
Shoemaker led off by drawing a walk. Allen reached on an error. Tourtillott grounded into a fielder's choice and she and Allen advanced on a wild pitch. Brown walked to load the bases for Jackman, who put the ball in play in a position where Pittsburg's first baseman couldn't make a play on anyone. That scored Allen, then Tourtillott scored on Heatherly's single and Brown and Jackman came on on Gray's hit up the middle.
The Dragons tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the fourth and scored four times in the fifth to take the lead.
The Tigers brought 2 runs home in the bottom of the fifth. Brown was hit by a pitch leading off. Jackman and Heatherly followed with consecutive singles. Gray followed up with a hit to the right side to bring in Brown and Jackman. Pittsburg prevented further damage with a line-drive double play to the shortstop and a line out to left.
The Dragons scored once more in the top of the sixth to push their lead to 9-6. But the Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning.
Shoemaker and Allen got on as Pittsburg committed errors. Tourtillott slapped a single down the first-base line to bring Shoemaker in and Allen scored on a wild pitch.
Brown's RBI groundout brought Tourtillott in with the tying run. Jackman doubled to center, Heatherly singled to short center and Gray drove them both in with a triple to the deepest part of the park off Vogel, who had just returned to the pitcher's circle in relief of Melia Cook.
Pittsburg got two on with one out in the top of the seventh off Harper, who herself had come into the cricle in relief of Gray in the fifth. But she struck out Elliott for the second out and Gray snagged a line drive at shortstop to end the game.
Heatherly and Gray each went 3 for 4 in the second game with Gray driving in 6 runs. Jackman was 2 for 3 and scored 3 runs.
Harper (3-0) allowed 1 run on 5 hits but didn't walk anyone and struck out 4 in two innings.
Lizzy Willis went 3 for 5 for Pittsburg, which had 16 hits. Six other Dragons had at least 2 hits but Cook allowed 5 earned runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 5 1/3 innings.
The Tigers play an SEK doubleheader at Parsons Tuesday.
Pittsburg.... 010 10x x -- 2 6 7
Fort Scott.. 332 13x x -- 12 11 1
WP -- Harper (2-0). LP -- Vogel.
Pittsburg... 300 141 0 -- 9 16 3
Fort Scott.. 004 025 x -- 11 10 6
WP -- Harper (3-0). LP -- Cook.