Houston starter Dani Sears delivers a pitch in the second inning last week against Salem.

The Houston High School softball team is struggling early in the season.

One day after losing 13-3 in five innings Monday at Mansfield, the Lady Tigers lost 17-7 Tuesday against Salem on Carter Field.

Despite consecutive double-digit losses, HHS coach Brent Hall said he finally saw some positive signs from his team in the conference defeat to Salem. The Lady Tigers (2-4, 1-1 South Central Association) had their most hits (seven) and fewest walks allowed (five) since their season-opening victory against Stoutland.

“Believe it or not, this was an improvement over the way we’ve played the last few games,” Hall said. “Since the first game of the year, that was the best we’ve competed and best effort we’ve put forward.

“I think we gained something, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Lizzy Swindell and Kaylea Preheim hit back-to-back home runs over the center-field fence in the fifth inning for HHS. Emily Harrison doubled, tripled and knocked in three runs.

The Lady Tigers were hitless until Preheim singled with one out in the third. She and courtesy runner Tori McCloud scored on Harrison’s double.

Autumn Walker had a RBI single in the sixth, and Harrison tripled home Hailey Dodson in the seventh.

Hall didn’t mind that Salem had 18 combined hits against pitchers Dani Sears and Harrison. He was more focused on the better control from his hurlers.

“I’d much rather them hit it than us walk them,” Hall said. “We tried to switch it up by putting Emily in there. I think that can be effective because Dani throws a little harder, and Emily can come in and keep them off balance.”

On Monday, five different players had singles in a 13-3 loss at Mansfield.

HHS scored all its runs in the second. McCloud walked with the bases loaded, Dodson had a RBI single and Walker brought home a run with a groundout.

Box scores

Tuesday’s game

SALEM 17, HOUSTON 7

SHS 132 411 5 –– 17 18 0

HHS 001 221 1 –– 7 7 6

Houston (ab-r-h-bi) –– Walker 2b 3-0-1-1. TaFranklin ss 1-0-0-1. McCloud ph 2-0-0-0. ToFranklin rf 3-0-0-0. Swindell 1b 4-1-1-1. Preheim 3b 4-2-1-1. Knarr c 4-1-1-0. Dodson cf 1-2-0-0. Harrison lf 3-1-2-3. Crewse dp 2-0-0-0. Totals 27-7-7-7.

2B: Harrison. 3B: Harrison. HR: Swindell, Preheim. SF: TaFranklin. SB: Crewse.

houston ip h r er bb so

Sears, L 3 8 6 6 1 0

Harrison 4 10 11 7 4 1

Monday’s game

MANSFIELD 13, HOUSTON 3

HHS 030 00 –– 13 5 3

MHS 324 4x –– 13 7 0

Houston (ab-r-h-bi) –– Walker 2b 2-0-0-1. ToFranklin rf 2-0-1-0. TaFranklin 2-0-1-0. Swindell 1b 2-1-1-0. Preheim 3b 1-1-0-0. Knarr c 3-1-1-0. Harrison lf 2-0-0-0. McCloud dp 2-0-0-1. Dodson cf 2-0-1-0.

SB: Preheim

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