WARDSVILLE, Mo. — The Fulton Lady Hornets got all they would need early.
Class 3 No. 4-ranked Fulton took down the No. 2-ranked Blair Oaks Lady Falcons 5-3 during non-conference softball action Monday at the Falcon Athletic Complex.
The Lady Hornets scored all five of their runs in the first two innings to build the lead that would hand the Lady Falcons their first loss of the season.
"It starts with the leadoff hitter getting on twice," Fulton coach Tim Echlemeier said. "Right on down the line it was basically putting pressure on them every at-bat. We were able to do that and we had good, solid contact all through the lineup."
Reagan Echelmeier got the Lady Hornets on the scoreboard in the top of the first when she took a leadoff walk, moved to third on Alex Trowbridge's single to left and scored when Jayna Hedgpath sent a double to the right field wall. Hedgpath's double cleared the loaded bases after Rylee Caswell walked following Trowbridge's hit.
Caswell stayed alive in the batter's box after a pop up in foul territory dropped to the dirt and kept the inning going for the Lady Hornets.
Fulton scored two more in the second.
Kyela Macon lined a ball that one-hopped the wall in left field for a double, then Echelmeier walked again before a Riley Baker sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third.
A wild pitch allowed Macon to score, then Trowbridge doubled to the wall in left-center to bring in Echelmeier.
"We just tried to figure out ways to get runners on and move them over," Tim Echelmeier said. "We were fortunate to hit some balls solid early and get a big enough lead there where our pitching was able to hold them off."
The Lady Falcons began to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the first.
Kadence Kliegel reached base on a fielder's choice before Andi Siebeneck hit a hard groundball and forced an error. Kliegel sprinted toward the plate when the ball traveled into left field and slid in just under the tag for the Lady Falcons' first run.
Blair Oaks added another run in the third when Siebeneck reached base on another error, then moved to second when Anna Hankins hit a ground ball toward short and beat the throw at first for a single.
With two outs, Grace Boessen singled up the middle and Siebeneck beat the throw to the plate to cut the Lady Hornets' lead to 5-2. Macee Ernst walked and Kliegel smacked an RBI double to the wall in left field for the Falcons' lone run in the third.
"It was a good, solid win," Tim Echelmeier said. "Two ranked opponents going at. It's regular season, it doesn't matter more than just knowing that you can compete with those best teams in the state and know you can find a way to win."
Miley Hawkins started for the Lady Hornets, pitching five innings and allowing three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out one to earn the win.
Brilee Ash notched a save for Fulton with two scoreless innings pitched, allowing only one baserunner on a hit.
Olivia Moyer started in the circle for the Lady Falcons and pitched two innings, allowing five runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out two.
Siebeneck came on in relief, pitching five scoreless innings and allowing only three hits, while striking out six.
"We are fortunate to have four very good freshman pitchers that came in this year," Tim Echelmeier said. "And we have a very good junior pitcher. We're just fortunate to have a lot of depth at the pitching spot."
Reagan Echelmeier walked twice and scored both times for the Lady Hornets, while Trowbridge doubled and singled with one RBI.
Hedgpath doubled for three RBI for Fulton.
Fulton (8-4) plays host to Moberly at 5 p.m. today.
Blair Oaks beat Fulton 6-0 during JV action Monday.