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Lady Dogs stumble, 2-1

 MONT BELVIEU – It was a game of missed opportunities for Nederland Thursday night as the Lady Bulldogs dropped game one of the best-of-three series to Magnolia 2-1 at Barbers Hill High School.

            The same two teams will play again tonight at 7 and Nederland will need a win to force a deciding game three, which will also be at Barbers Hill Saturday night at 7.

            “We didn’t start well and we gave up some early hits,” said Nederland coach Sissy Yeaman. “We will have to start better tomorrow night and have better location at the plate.

            “I thought we hit the ball well, probably better than we have in awhile. We had plenty of opportunities to score runs, more than they (Magnolia) did, but we didn’t do a very good job of taking advantage of those opportunities.”

            Magnolia (27-11) jumped out to the early lead with a run in the first and another in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Victoria Birdwell led off the bottom of the first with an infield single and stole second base. After Reggie Harrison was hit by a pitch, pitcher Katy Adair singled to right field to drive in Birdwell with the game’s first run.

            Kendra Sancet led off the second inning with a singled to left field. Birdwell walked and Courtney Kuehn singled just past a diving Jensen Richard at second base, allowing Sancet to score from second.

            Nederland responded with its only run of the game in the top of the third inning. Madison Trevino beat out an infield single to third base. Layken Richard moved Trevino to second with a sacrifice bunt. Krista Mayer drove in Trevino with a single to center field to make the score 2-1.

            Nederland (23-11) left runners on base in each of the remaining four innings, but was unable to push across the tying run. For the game, the Lady Bulldogs left nine runners on base, including four in scoring position.

    Logan LeBlanc led off the fourth with a single to center and Jensen Richard reached on an error by second baseman Emily Cox on a sacrifice attempt. Regan Richard fouled out to the catcher and LeBlanc was thrown out at third trying to advance on the play.

    In the fifth, Layken Richard singled to center with one out. Mayer reached on a fielder’s choice when Richard beat the throw to second on the force attempt. Chantelle Whitehead grounded in to a fielder’s choice and Emily Nolan popped out to shortstop to end the inning.

    Trevino led off the seventh inning by reaching on a fielding error by first baseman Kaci Hoskins. Layken Richard, who went 2-for-3, singled to left to put runners on first and second with no outs. Mayer fouled out to third base, Whitehead popped out to shortstop and Nolan struck out on a questionable appeal call by the first base umpire to end the game.

    Shelby Hanks (12-8) took the loss for Nederland, allowing two runs on six hits with three strikeouts. After a rough first couple of innings, Hanks settled down and gave her team a chance to win. After allowing four hits in the first two innings, she allowed just two the rest of the game.

    “We have the ability to come back and win these next two games,” said Yeaman. “We have to come out with more fire and set the tone early. We need to jump on them early like they did to us tonight.

    “We hit the ball well, played good defense and pitched well enough to win tonight. We just have to do a better job of pushing runs across when we have the chance. We had runners on first and second with no outs twice tonight and didn’t score. You can’t do that against good teams and win.”