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South’s ‘Cardiac Kids’ edge rival Lanesville

South’s ‘Cardiac Kids’ edge rival Lanesville
South’s ‘Cardiac Kids’ edge rival Lanesville
With South Central's Megan Zumar making the catch, Lanesville's Britany Johnson (13) just misses one that's low and outside fired in from Lady Rebel pitcher Brittany Tuell. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

In recent years, girls fastpitch softball has become not a game of the best offense, but a game of the best defense. A minor slip-up here or a stumble there usually decides the outcome.
That was the case Thursday at Lanesville.
Thanks to the bobble of a routine ground ball and a mental mistake on a bunt ‘ both by Lanesville ‘ South Central edged the host Lady Eagles, 2-0.
Each club had chances to score, but South (3-2, 1-0) was the only club to cash in with lone runs in the sixth and seventh innings. The Lady Eagles (3-3, 1-1) got their first two batters on in the fifth inning only to have the next three retired on strikeouts by Brittany Tuell.
‘The ‘Cardiac Kids’ lived up to their name again,’ South Central coach Bob Zumar said. ‘I’m not sure I can do this another five years. We just like to win ugly.
‘I think the first part of that fifth inning was the worst I’ve seen (Tuell) pitch, and then the last part of it was probably as good as she’s ever pitched. She walked two girls back-to-back and then brought up the top of the order and struck them all out. That was big. Real big.’
The first score came in the sixth inning when Dana Evans reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and moved to third on a ground ball to first. With two outs, Amber Wooldridge knocked a two-hopper to Lanesville sophomore second baseman Leeann Wolfe, who bobbled the ball. Evans scored and Wooldridge was safe at first.
‘I told them before the game that the team that plays the best defense will win, and that’s what happened,’ said Lanesville’s first-year coach, Kayla Straub. ‘We didn’t score in the game, but I think it still should have been 0-0 if you take back the two mistakes that we made on defense.’
Lady Rebels pitcher Brittany Tuell retired the side in order in the bottom of the same inning.
In the top of the seventh, Lanesville slinger Allison Horton issued her only free pass of the game, to Melissa Biesel. Biesel then caught the Lady Eagles’ defense off guard by moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brooke Kingsley.
A ground-out by Michelle Palmer drove in Biesel.
‘That was a designed play. Biesel is one of only a couple of runners that we have who has the speed to pull that off,’ Zumar explained. ‘It took good base-running and a good bunt.
‘I think that was a big key, too. We were able to get our bunts down and they weren’t.’
Straub, who knows first-hand how important bunting is at the collegiate level (she played at Lindsey Wilson College prior to coaching the Lady Eagles), agreed.
‘In a tight ball game like this, you have to make them play the ball, and we couldn’t lay a bunt down at all today.
‘We should have been ready for Biesel to go to third. I’m an aggressive type of coach, and I like for my players to steal, and that’s exactly what I would have done, too. I don’t know why they didn’t think of making the play,’ Straub said. ‘It’s a big game, a big conference game, so maybe it was nerves.’
Allison Horton struck out 10 South batters while Tuell fanned 12, including retiring the side on strikeouts in the fifth inning after walking the first two batters.
South returns to the diamond next Wednesday at New Albany while Lanesville will see action on Monday at New Washington.