Houston senior Belle Knarr holds a sign made for the parents of each of the six seniors.

The Houston softball team celebrated Senior Night with a victory against the top-ranked team in the district.

The Lady Tigers raced ahead 6-0 after two innings and held on down the stretch to top Willow Springs 6-2 Thursday evening on Carter Field.

It was a victorious sendoff for the senior class – Taylor Franklin, Belle Knarr, Hailey Dodson, Kaylea Preheim, Emily Harrison and Dani Sears – in their final home game. The players were recognized alongside their parents after the game and shared tearful goodbyes with their teammates.

Autumn Walker and Taylor Franklin scored two runs apiece for HHS, which managed to score six times on just three hits. Tommi Franklin knocked in a pair of runs. 

Senior Emily Harrison scattered five hits over seven innings for the victory. She struck out one and walked three.

The Lady Tigers (9-9, 5-2 South Central Association) are seeded third in next week’s Class 2 District 3 tournament and will face Plato in Wednesday’s opening round. Willow Springs is the top seed and advanced to the semifinals with a first-round bye. The teams could potentially meet again in the finals.

Walker and Taylor Franklin were hit by pitches leading off the bottom of the first and scored on Tommi Franklin’s two-run single through the right side.

Harrison and Hailey Dodson reached on consecutive hits in the inning and eventually scored. Walker, who reached on a walk, and Franklin, who was hit by a pitch for the second time, both scored unearned runs.

Willow Springs scored twice in the fifth and loaded the bases with two outs. But Harrison got out of the jam by getting a groundout.

Box score

Willow Springs  000  020  0  –  2  5  1

Houston  240  000  x  –  6 3 2

HOUSTON (ab-r-h-bi) – Walker 2b 1-2-0-0. TaFranklin ss 1-2-0-0. Swindell 1b 2-0-0-0. ToFranklin lf 3-0-1-2. Knarr c 3-0-0-0. Preheim 3b 3-0-0-0. Harrison p 1-0-1-0. McCloud cr 0-1-0-0. Dodson cf 2-1-1-0. Crewse dp 1-0-0-0. Sears rf 1-0-0-0. Totals 18-6-3-2

SB: McCloud, Dodson. CS: Swindell.

WP: Harrison.

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