The Houston softball team couldn’t hang onto an early advantage against one of the conference’s top teams.

Liberty scored 13 unanswered runs, including eight in the sixth inning, to rally past the Lady Tigers 17-9 Tuesday afternoon at Carter Field.

Houston (4-3, 0-1 South Central Association) played well early and struggled late.

“Our problem has been that we don’t finish teams,” Lady Tigers coach Willy Walker said. “We play well for three or four innings.”

Kayla Kelley was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for Houston. Taylor Franklin, Olivia Woosley and Kaylea Preheim also drove in two runs apiece.

Liberty out-hit the Lady Tigers 18-10 and took advantage of six errors.

Preheim’s two-out, two-run double put Houston ahead 6-1 after the third inning. Liberty scored three times in the fourth and two more times in the fifth to tie it. The Lady Eagles then sent 20 batters to the plate and pushed across eight runs in the sixth inning to take a 14-6 lead.

“Things fell apart for us really quick,” Walker said.

On Monday, Franklin homered and drove in four runs as the Lady Tigers held off Mansfield 16-14.

Houston scored seven times in the top of the seventh inning to go ahead 16-6 and hung on despite giving up eight runs in the bottom of the inning.

Franklin scored four times and had three of the team’s 16 hits. Woosley had three doubles and drove in four runs.

On Saturday, the Lady Tigers went 2-1 in the Houston Invitational to finish second.

Houston opened the round-robin format with a 13-2 win against Winona. Franklin was 2-for-2 with three runs and four RBIs.

After an 11-1 loss to Bakersfield, the Lady Tigers topped Steelville 12-4. Franklin had three hits and scored three times. Maddie Vandiver, Knarr and Kelley had two hits apiece.

On Thursday, Houston scored 11 times in the first inning en route to an easy 16-3 five-inning victory against Stoutland.

Vandiver had two of the Lady Tigers’ five hits and drove home a pair of runs. Vandiver and Knar scored three times apiece.

Franklin, Lizzy Swindell and Hailey Dodson all scored twice.

Kelley, who got the win, and Franklin shared pitching duties. Walker said senior Carmen Floyd, who started every game last year, left the team.

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