Runnels softball edges Episcopal, 7-4

Runnels manufactured three runs on just one hit in the sixth inning to rally past Episcopal 7-4 in a District 7-2A softball game Thursday at Runnels.

Runnels (7-3, 4-0 in District 7-2A) kept its three-season undefeated district streak going and celebrated Senior Night for its five seniors. Seniors Sami Roberson, Ashley Kumler, Danielle Coniglio and Lainey Whitworth each had a hit and shortstop Jordan Etheridge was solid in the field.

Episcopal (7-8, 2-3) outhit Runnels 9-5, but the Raiders were more efficient on the base paths.

“We’re on a good winning streak in district, and our seniors have been a major reason for that,” Runnels coach Nicole Dufour said. “We left runners in scoring position. We were able to move the runs in later in the game as the girls executed bunts and capitalized on overthrows and wild pitches.”

Episcopal scored two runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 4. Christy Brown, Lauren Foster and Teresa Kling singled to load the bases. Brown scored on an errant throw, and Caroline Counts hit a bloop single past third base to score the second run.

Episcopal reliever Elizabeth Root hit two batters in the sixth. Deshotels scored on a passed ball, Kumler’s groundout scored Roberson and Allie Nicholson scored on a wild pitch for the final margin.

Episcopal junior Lisa Burris led off the seventh with a hit over the center fielder’s head. Burris tried to reach third on the play and initially appeared to slide safely. EHS was unable to call time and RHS third baseman Kumler held the tag, and when Burris moved, she was called out.

“The Episcopal player’s leg was on top of my third baseman’s leg,” Dufour said. “Kumler held the tag, and that was a crucial play.”

RHS pitcher Coniglio (6-3) fanned the next EHS batter and forced a flyout to end the game.

Burris had an RBI triple, and Elizabeth Root an RBI single as EHS took a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Runnels scored three runs in the second inning and one in the third to pull ahead 4-2. Deshotels drove in two runs with a single in the second, and Kumler scored in the third. Kumler moved from first to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Coniglio’s groundout.

Burris and Brown led EHS with two hits. Starting pitcher Baylee Cifreo added a double. Root relieved in the fifth inning and had four strikeouts.

“I was proud of the girls for rallying to tie the game,” EHS coach Heidi Hebert said. “Runnels is a good solid team, and they played well. I thought my team hit the ball well. Our senior centerfielder Rachel Donovan made an outstanding defensive play that helped us.”

Dufour praised the Runnels seniors.

“Our pitcher Danielle Coniglio has fought through injuries and is a tough competitor,” Dufour said. “Ashley Kumler is very versatile, and I can put her anywhere on the field to help the team. Sami Roberson is very smart and so solid in the outfield. Jordan Etheridge sat out her junior year with a concussion and has been solid at shortstop. Lainey Whitworth is always talking and a force at first base.”