Eldon made a statement early with the bats in a Tri-County Conference game with Versailles Tuesday night.

Eldon made a statement early with the bats in a Tri-County Conference game with Versailles Tuesday night.

The Mustangs made the trip down Highway 52 and poured on six runs in the first inning en route to a 14-1 win over the Tigers in five innings.

"We finally came out tonight relaxed and was not so tight. We kind of let the game come to us," Eldon coach Dusty Purnell said. "Offensively, we got the ball where we wanted to and was able to put a solid hit on the ball. Fortunately for us tonight, we kind of hit gaps and hit it where they weren't. In the past, we've hit it hard right at people and just could not get the ball to fall our way." 

Elizabeth Rush led the charge with three of the team's 13 hits on the night and both Kayleigh Fike and Camryn Marriott added two hits each. Fike and Madison VanHooser each finished with a team-leading three RBIs while Chloe Ruark, Rush, Marriott, Elnora Horn and Madison Witt also drove in a run.

"They rallied for those six runs early and man, that just knocked us back a little bit," Versailles coach Russ Foster said. "We were kind of on the ropes there for a little bit and then we tried to battle back. It just seemed like we could not get any consistency within our offense... We could not tie anything really together that much offensively and that just took its toll on us."

Helping her own cause offensively along with her teammates, Ruark had an easier time in the circle pitching four innings and allowing just a single run on three hits while walking one and striking out two. Savannah Holde pitched the remaining inning and allowed just one hit.

"I prayed before the game and then I made sure to do my warmups good," Ruark said of the pleasant outing.

Ruark also stays busy with the sport playing on a travel team and Purnell was pleased with the sophomore's efforts Tuesday night.

"She had a great offensive side of the game, too. She was hitting spots, moving the ball around and mixed in her offspeed a little bit here and there just to keep them off balance," the coach pointed out.

A lot of good things happened for Eldon, but if there is anything Purnell would like to see improve, it is vigorously defending a lead once it is attained.

"Once we get up early we cannot led down an inning or two, we have to keep going. We kind of let off there in the second and third I felt like offensively and started to get comfortable," the coach said after the Tigers scored their lone run in the third inning. "Then we realized, 'Hey, we have to get back to pushing a little bit and do some of the small things we did in the first inning.'"

Eldon improved to 4-17 with the win and there have been five games this season decided by a single run. The Mustangs have won two of them. Purnell noted that with the exception of maybe two games, his club has been in just about every game they've played and it is simply a matter of finishing and avoiding a bad inning to get more favorable outcomes.

Eldon visits Hallsville on Thursday at 5 p.m. and will play in the Hillcrest Invitational over the weekend.

"We need to take this and move forward with it," the coach said.

"There are going to be some tough competitions the rest of the season."

Ollison led the Tigers with two hits, Joscelynn Marriott finished with a hit and RBI and Kierra O'Rourke provided the other hit of the night for Versailles. Marriott took the loss on the mound after four innings of work allowing 13 runs, nine earned, on 12 hits to go with a strikeout and two walks.

"Our pitcher (Marriott) is like an 'Iron Girl' because she has probably thrown 90 percent of our innings this year. She just continues to keep doing all the rehab stuff she can do to take care of herself and we are really proud of that and grateful she takes that initiative," Foster said of his starter.

The Tigers had just wrapped up tournament play on their own diamond over the weekend finishing fourth and played another game on Monday before Tuesday's tilt. Foster said fatigue may be setting in a bit with the volume of games, but there are no excuses.

"Right now is a tough time for everyone. This is the time of season where everyone has played a lot of games and you play a lot of games in a short period of time. That is some wear and tear on you," the coach stated. 

"We got home late last night but that is part of it. We are not going to use that for an excuse."

Versailles (7-14, 0-5 Tri-County Conference) will visit Southern Boone on Thursday at 5 p.m. 

"Just try to come with as much energy as you can bring and try to keep fighting and keep battling. That is about all you can do right now," the coach said of the road ahead. "It does not get any easier. They (Southern Boone) are a good team so it is just what it is. We'll be here and we'll be battling."