Bain’s arm, bat hurt Lady Rebels; Horton fans 18, but Lanesville falls
There were no blowouts to be found at Tim Hauber Field in Clarksville last Wednesday afternoon in the semifinal round of the Class A softball sectional.
The two games were decided by the slimmest of margins, and the runs scored were about as unconventional as they come. When the dust had settled, both Lanesville and South Central were eliminated from the state tournament.
The first battle pitted Clarksville and its ace righty, junior Candace Bain, against South Central and its star hurler, sophomore Brittany Tuell.
Tuell, a hard-throwing, intense warrior who has pitched every game this season for South, had Clarksville guessing for most of the game. On the other side, Bain was in control of almost every batter who stepped into the box.
The difference in the game came in the bottom of the fourth.
Tuell issued a one-out walk to Kristen Martin, and Bain, who hit a weak ground-out to third in her first at-bat, stepped to the plate.
After a couple of pitches, Tuell delivered a low-and-away curve ball that Bain sent sailing over the fence in center field.
The blast, which measured approximately 225 feet, sucked the life out of the Lady Rebels. Bain circled the bases and was mobbed by her teammates at the plate.
South managed just one base runner the rest of the way as Bain’s fifth homer of the season held up, 2-0.
South threatened a couple of times early on, but after the round-tripper, the Rebles could only make one more effort: Tuell hit a line drive to left center for a single to lead off the top of the sixth, but she was doubled up on a nice play by centerfielder Erin Fisher, who caught a fly ball from the bat of Megan Zumar and threw out Tuell at first.
Both pitchers surrendered just three hits; Bain struck out six and Tuell three.
Offensively for South, Zumar, Samantha Troutman and Tuell marked base knocks while for Clarksville, Bain had her round-tripper, Elizabeth Cox had a bloop single, and Michaelia Gilbert a single.
The Lady Rebels finished an outstanding season at 16-4.
— After a 20-minute rain delay, Lanesville’s star freshman pitcher, Allison Horton, struck out 18 batters, but her squad couldn’t come up with enough offense to back her up as the Lady Eagles suffered a 3-2 setback at the hands of New Washington.
Two of the runs were unearned.
‘This one started out just like another game we played against them this year: runner reached on an error, scores, and we don’t wake up until the sixth inning,’ Lady Eagle coach Mary Geswein said.
‘I don’t know if it was because we were up and pumped and ready and then the rain calmed us down or what. We just never got back in the game.’
Horton’s 18-strikeout effort in the circle gave her a season-total of 231 strikeouts in just 17 games for an average of just over 13 per outing.
New Washington took the lead early, when Melissa Spear reached on a strikeout and a dropped third strike. She stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead after one inning.
The Lady Mustangs struck again in the top of the third after Horton beaned Angie Curtis with two outs. Curtis advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error.
New Washington extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the sixth after Angie Curtis singled, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and came across on a double by Brittney McKee.
Lanesville (7-11) never gave up, however, bringing the potential game-winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Horton doubled and moved to third on a fielder’s choice. After striking out Brittany Johnson, New Washington’s McKee surrendered a walk to Rebekah McKim. Katie Rothrock socked one that tipped off the glove of New Washington’s second baseman to drive in two runs. McKee buckled down and got Leslie Kaufer to ground out to third to end the game.
‘They never gave up, I can say that. We were in it until the end but just could not hit the ball, and that was our downfall,’ Geswein said.
‘We lost four games by one run and three games by one run in extra innings. We’re young. I have a lot of freshman out there. Allison is a good pitcher who sometimes lets her emotions get to her, and she’s working on that. She’s getting stronger at that, and we’re only going to be better next year. I only lose three seniors.’
Audrey Hess also doubled for Lanesville.
–Clarksville (25-6) hoisted the sectional trophy by virtue of a 9-0 victory over New Washington.