By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Munford Lady Cougars appeared to get hot just at the right time.
Head Coach Glenn Goulder’s have made it a mid-May tradition of winning games during the week of Regionals. The past four years have seen the Lady Cougars win the do-or-die Sub-State game to reach the Class 3A State Tournament.
It appeared the 2015 edition of Munford Softball was well on its way to the program’s fifth straight appearance in Murfreesboro. The week began with Munford eliminating the Arlington Lady Tigers in the Region 7-3A Semifinals.
Next up was the Lady Cougars exercising some revenge on their rival the Brighton Lady Cardinals in the Region championship game in extra innings. Munford earned the right to host the Houston Lady Mustangs Friday afternoon at the Lady Cougar Softball Field.
Munford grabbed an early 1-0 lead when MaKayla Pugh smacked a single to drive in senior Maddison Welch. The first inning score held up until Houston rallied for three runs in the fifth inning. The Lady Mustangs went on to prevail 6-1 and end the Lady Cougar streak of State appearances.
“ I hope they don’t take it for granted,” Goulder said. “We went several times in a row. And it got to the point we thought we were supposed to be there. And it doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to earn every bit of it.
“Sometimes when things aren’t going too well, you have to buckle up your belt tighter and get going,” he added. “We got a little bit complacent there walking out thinking we were supposed to win. We kind of did that today and that did kind of scare me.”
Munford starter Sam Scott was scaring the Houston lineup for four innings giving up no runs and one hit. Scott struck out the side in the second inning as part of her 12 strikeout performance.
But walks and miscues at the plate allowed Houston to score 3 runs in the fifth inning. Then a double in the sixth inning added two more runs to the Lady Mustang total. And Houston added an insurance run in the seventh inning.
Munford had chance to cut into the Houston lead in the fifth inning with a runner on third base. Then in the sixth inning the Lady Cougars had the bases loaded with no out. Houston escaped the threat with a pop-up, strikeout and pop fly.
“We had some opportunities we didn’t cash in on,” Goulder said. “We had a runner on third with one out. We couldn’t squeeze her home and ended up not scoring.
“It’s such a game of momentum and they had a couple of breaks go their way,” he added. “Things go your way and then the momentum swings your way. It’s like running uphill the rest of the game.’
Munford’s 2015 season had its share of uphill climbs.
“I’m really proud of this bunch,” Goulder said. “We started out 2-10 and it was like a mountain to climb. And they didn’t quit. We lost the first game in the district tournament. Again, it could have been easy to pack it up. But they have a lot of fight to them. Like I told them, ‘I’m going to remember a lot of the good things about this team. Not one game we loss in Sub-State.’”
The Lady Cougars finished the season 24-16 and the high school careers of Welch, Taylor Hobson and Tori Ray came to an end. The trio were part of three State Tournament teams and the 2015 Region 7-3A champions.
“They’re all such good kids,” Goulder concluded. “You’d be proud to have any of them as your daughter. They worked hard every day and encouraged the younger ones. They did everything they were supposed to do. If I have any disappointment, I’m disappointed for them. They wanted to finish it up on a strong note. But it didn’t happen.”