The McDowell Lady Titans opened up the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference softball tournament Tuesday evening, beating the West Caldwell Lady Warriors 4-1 at Titan Field.
McDowell, now at 11-10 overall and the No. 3 seed in the tournament, pushed across three first-inning runs and made that hold firm thanks in part to a solid combined effort from the pitching staff.
Sophomore Lucy Hames went four innings of two-hit ball, striking out two batters and walking four. Candace Cooper followed up with three innings of relief, allowing the one run on two hits. Cooper struck out three West Caldwell batters.
Offensively the Lady Titans mustered seven hits. Emma Banks went 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI. Jessica Cannon also had two hits for the Lady Titans.
Kirsten Melvin had one hit and drove in three runs. Cooper and sophomore Jada Cannon finished with one hit each.
The Northwestern 3A/4A semifinals and championship game will be played at Titan Field starting Thursday afternoon. McDowell will play second seed Alexander Central (17-5) in the first semifinal at 4:30 p.m., with the top seed and regular-season champ South Caldwell (16-3) playing Saint Stephens (7-12) in the nightcap at 6:30.
The winners of the semifinals will face off in the conference championship on Friday at 6 p.m. at McDowell.