HOWE — Wednesday afternoon’s makeup game between Howe and S&S turned into a battle for an early three-way share of the lead in the District 11-2A softball standings.

HOWE — Wednesday afternoon’s makeup game between Howe and S&S turned into a battle for an early three-way share of the lead in the District 11-2A softball standings.


After weather forced the teams to reschedule last weekend, Howe’s four-run rally in the third Wednesday afternoon lifted the Lady Bulldogs to a 5-2 home win against S&S and into a tie atop the standings with Whitewright and Whitesboro.


But don’t remind Howe head coach Jennifer Sluder.


"I kind of don’t like to talk about those kinds of things. I’m very superstitious," Sluder said. "I just like to take it one game at a time and just move forward, no matter what the situation is."


Facing a 2-1 deficit, freshman Dani Ross sparked the big inning for Howe (16-3, 4-1) with a line drive single to right field to bring in junior Christina Counts, who led off the inning with a double, and freshman Emily Sanders, who had singled.


Ross later scored on one of three infield pop-ups that the Lady Rams, who dropped to 3-2 in district, misjudged in the blustering northern winds. After her team committed five errors in the game, head coach Darsey Hahn said she is confident S&S will rebound quickly.


"[The wind] played a little bit of a key role, but it’s nothing we won’t be able to handle going forward," Hahn said.


Howe junior Peyton Tinney continued the rally with a single to left field and later scored on a Lady Rams throwing error to first for a 5-2 lead. Tinney led the Lady Bulldogs at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI.


Sanders and Ross, the first and second hitters in a lineup with four freshmen, accounted for all but one of Howe’s runs. Ross finished 2-for-4 with one run and two runs batted in while Sanders went 2-for-4 and scored twice.


"A lot of these young ones have been playing a while, so they know the game," Sluder said. "I have 13- and 14-year olds playing against 18-year olds. They want to play and be on the field and that’s what’s important."


Howe started the game with Tinney singling in Sanders for a 1-0 advantage in the first.


Lady Rams senior Paige Porter drove in Macie Stanford and Jessika Dyke with a line-drive single in the top of the third for a 2-1 S&S lead.


Porter also had nine strikeouts and one walk in the circle.


"She’s a great leader," Hahn said. "She is one of the three seniors we have. She does a good job. She’s going to be great in college."


Howe’s Alyson Streetman struck out eight to go with one walk in the win. Both pitchers and defenses finished the game strong, not allowing any of the seven baserunners to score in the final three-and-a-half innings.


Lady Bulldog shortstop Jada Upchurch smashed a triple to the center field fence in the fourth but was stranded. Howe got two more hits in the sixth inning before it ended on a runner interference for the third out.


Lady Rams senior Riley Stogner drilled a single to center in the top of the sixth and Meagan Cowden singled in the seventh, but both were left on base.


Howe will look to recover from a stretch of three consecutive game days but two straight wins after a loss to Tom Bean.


"It’s a huge win for us," Sluder said. "It’d be nice to be 5-0 heading into next week, but 4-1, I guess, is not so bad. We’ll bounce back and keep moving forward."


Howe will continue district play on the road at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday against Callisburg, while S&S will play at Tom Bean.


"We’re in a level district," Sluder said. "You’ve got your teams that are really good and you have your ones that aren’t as good, but at any point in time, any of those teams can beat a No. 1 team or a No. 2 team."