Motlow Softball Earns Series Win over Cleveland

Motlow State pitcher Kendall Durard prepares to deliver a pitch during Motlow’s series win over Cleveland State this past weekend at Lady Bucks Field. Durard, a freshman from Shelbyville, won three of the four games in the circle for the Lady Bucks, pitching 18 innings and allowing just one run and 10 total hits. Motlow will travel to Roane State this weekend, then return home to host Dyersburg State on March 23 & 24. [Photo by Jeff Reed Photography]

Kendall Durard allowed only one run in 18 innings pitched and the Motlow offense broke loose as the Lady Bucks won three out of four games from TCCAA rival Cleveland State over the weekend at Lady Bucks Field on Motlow’s Moore County campus.

The Lady Bucks (7-11, 4-4) jumped up into the middle of the TCCAA standings with the series win, and will travel to Harriman this weekend for a four-game series against Roane State.

Cleveland stole the first game of the series, scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning to win 3-2. After that it was all Motlow, and Durard, as the Lady Bucks won Friday’s second game 4-1. Durard was completely dominant on Saturday, tossing 10 shutout innings as Motlow won 9-0, 8-0 in a pair of five-inning, run-rule contests.

Samantha King got the start in game one for Motlow, pitching three innings and allowing one earned run. The Lady Bucks took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth with two outs when Madison Woodruff doubled and advanced to third on a passed ball. After Haley Hinshaw was hit by a pitch, King singled in Woodruff to tie the game 1-1 and Hinshaw gave Motlow the lead by scoring on another passed ball.

Breanna Owens relieved King in the circle in the fourth inning and gave up the two runs to Cleveland in the seventh. Durard made her first appearance in the seventh by getting the final three outs, and she pitched every inning the rest of the series for the Lady Bucks.

In Friday’s second game Durard scattered five hits and struck out four, allowing one walk and one earned run in the 4-1 win. The Lady Bucks scored one in the fourth inning, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth after the Lady Cougars had jumped in front 1-0 in the third inning.

Madison Hopkins opened the fourth with a single to center and scored on a Cleveland error. Miranda Cooksey singled with one out in the fifth and scored on a two-out single from Kylie Thackerson, giving the Lady Bucks a 2-1 lead. Motlow took advantage of an error and two passed balls to score its two runs in the sixth, and Durard made them stand up despite allowing a single and a walk in the seventh.

Durard was near flawless on Saturday, pitching all 10 innings and allowing just five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. She got plenty of offensive support early in both games.

Motlow scored two runs in the first inning of game one, added one more in the second, and then put a six on the scoreboard in the third inning. Thackerson and Hinshaw had two hits each, and Cooksey slammed a home run while Thackerson added a three-run triple.

The offense continued its effectiveness in the series finale, with Motlow scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning, which was all Durard needed. In addition to her fine pitching, Durard added two doubles and drove in a pair of runs. Thackerson and Woodruff also had two hits each, and Owens drove in three runs with Hinshaw and Chelbie Gannon also driving in runs.