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North Posey nips Lady Pack, 2-0

As lightning struck around the Crawford County baseball and softball complex during last Monday’s Crawford softball sectional, the North Posey Lady Vikings brought some lightning of their own, shutting out the Crawford County Lady Pack in the opener.
‘Two to nothing,’ said Crawford Coach Lonnie Presley. ‘They’re a pretty good team, and they didn’t hurt themselves. We just didn’t hit again.’
The first two innings offered a pitching duel, with both teams getting only a single baserunner, both through walks, and nothing else. Crawford also went three-up-and-out in the top of the third inning.
North Posey made the game’s first big threat in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Abby Thompson reached first safely on a Crawford error. Leslie Ricker then took Thompson’s place, reaching on a fielder’s choice.
After Ricker stole second, Crawford committed a second error to allow Keri Schmidt to get to first and Ricker to third. Schmidt stole second and then Natalie Barnard walked to load the bases.
However, it was all for naught. Following a team huddle, Crawford’s defense held as Kaycee Webster grounded back to Crawford pitcher Melinda Grote for the third out.
The Vikings’ lightning proved more potent in the bottom of the next inning. Amanda Hostettler began the inning with a single, then Cathy Reeves doubled, pushing Hostettler across the plate for North Posey’s first run.
Mallory Beuligmann then reached base on a third Crawford error. Reeves went to third on a passed ball and then Beuligmann stole second. Heather Williams walked, and the Vikings had the bases loaded once again.
Crawford’s Tori Beaver stole a hit from Thompson, catching the line drive on the run. Ricker then ripped a long sacrifice fly to left field to bring Reeves home.
A severe thunderstorm to the south then forced the game to be delayed for about 30 minutes.
After play resumed, both teams went down in order in the fifth. However, then came some controversy.
With one out, Crawford’s Brittany Lutz singled, giving Crawford a spark. With Beaver at bat, Lutz got picked off at first on a throw out that was argued by both Presley and assistant coach Ernie Stroud. The umpires let the play stand and Beaver struck out to end the inning.
Presley argued again in the bottom of the inning, voicing opposition to a checked swing by North Posey’s Mallory Beuligmann, but lost that battle as well.
‘The girl definitely went around (swinging),’ Presley said of the second call. ‘She ended up getting a hit over second base. He made the bad call here at first where Brittany was safe. But that didn’t beat us either. It could have started something. When you get a runner on like that, it always pumps up everybody else.’
‘We had a real shot at a run. Brittany had just got on with a rip up the middle and we had the top (of the order) coming up. That’s her job. That’s why we’ve got her down there, to get on, and she does a good job of getting on.’
Crawford got one more chance at bat, again went down in order, ending the game at 2-0, the Vikings getting the win to move on in the tournament.
‘There’s not much you can say,’ Presley said. ‘I feel sorry for the girls. We had a pretty good year. We ended up 14-8. I know it’s better than they’ve done, and it may be better than any Crawford team has done. We actually won the conference, but had to forfeit the two games.
‘We were undefeated in the conference. We won 11 in a row. I don’t think any Crawford County team has done that. I’m pleased with the girls. It’s tough to win a sectional no matter where you are, whatever event it is.’
The Lady Pack got just the one hit and committed three errors. Grote struck out two and walked three Viking batters.
North Posey had three hits and committed no errors. Viking pitcher Kelly Clem struck out 11 Crawford batters and walked one.
‘We felt like we could win 10 in a row and won 11 at that stretch,’ Presley said. ‘There were four or five teams that beat us this year that I didn’t think were near the caliber that we are and they beat us. We also won a couple or three games I didn’t think we would win. Maybe we peaked too soon. I don’t know. We hit the ball pretty good (during) that 11-game stretch.’
The Lady Pack will graduate six athletic seniors.
‘I’ve had them since they were six,’ said the Crawford coach. ‘I’m really going to miss them. It’s a rebuilding year next year. I never had to worry about any type of grades or anything from this bunch of seniors.’
Filling the holes left by six seniors can mean a lot of rebuilding.
‘I know the seventh-grade girls coming in have got the talent. I’ve watched them practice already. We’ve got some eighth-grade girls that could step in and get some big-time playing time next year. And I’ve got my two pitchers back, so we won’t be hurting too bad. Two good pitchers can keep you right in it. It could be 2-0 here next year, just like this.’