Lanesville puts the chill on rival South, 4-2
Sweatshirts, ear warmers, gloves and coats dressed not only the spectators, but the girls in South Central and Lanesville’s dugouts Thursday afternoon.
Lanesville had dropped two straight games in the cold, but finally picked one up, hanging on to a 4-2 win over county-, conference- and sectional-rival South Central.
Lanesville sophomore Caitlin Dean has the honors in the circle to replace four-year standout Allison Horton. Horton who recorded over 1,000 strikeouts during her prep career as an Eagle, graduated after last year’s run and now contributes to Campbellsville University’s softball program.
Thursday, Dean cruised through five shutout innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. She allowed four hits and had one punchout, all without walking a batter. The sophomore showed grit, working out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning. With one out and bases full, she induced a Christian Clem ground ball to the circle, followed by another grounder to third from Paige Kingsley.
Lanesville head coach Kayla Straub’s philosophy on adjusting to the change is simple.
‘Play better defense this year, and hit the ball more,’ she said of leading the back-to-back state runners-up in Class A. The Eagles entered the 2007 campaign pre-season ranked No. 4 in Class A.
Hit the ball they did. Straub said she has asked her girls not to take third strikes at the plate, rather put the ball in play. Thursday they did that, collecting four hits, two from Aimee Parsons and forcing seven South Central errors.
Lanesville put one on the board in the second inning, thanks to aggressive base-running. After Erin Harbeson reached on an error to start the inning, she made her way to third when Shelby Fonda reached base on an error. On the first pitch, Fonda broke for second and with no one covering, the throw went to center, plating Harbeson on the double steal.
The Eagles added another run in the third when Ashley Royalty picked up an RBI with a single to right, scoring Erin Dorgay.
For the Lady Rebels, the season hasn’t started off so well.
‘We didn’t hit the ball when we needed to,’ said South Central coach Bob Zumar. ‘A base hit here or there and we could have won. I really felt this was a winnable game.’
The fifth inning was key for Eagle insurance runs. A four-run Eagle cushion was built when Allison Wolfe and Hannah Schneider reached on errors to start the inning. Both runs eventually scored before South Central pitcher Justine Huffman pitched out of the jam, leaving two Eagles on base, softening the damage.
‘You can’t win if you give away four runs,’ Zumar said.
The game was interesting late. Via six walks in the final two innings, South Central was able to push across two runs, both in the seventh. With two on in the final inning, Ashley Royalty entered the circle, recording the final out, striking out Clem.
‘They played well,’ Straub said of her ball club. ‘The hit, played defense and put it all together for once.’
The game-time temperature was bitterly cold, in the 40s with gusts of wind blowing out to left. Straub said experience playing a few games in the cold weather earlier in the week likely played into Lanesville’s favor. Zumar said his team had two games canceled due to poor weather conditions and only had a few practices.
With temperatures expected to warm up, Zumar said his team hopefully will come around defensively and at the plate.
Huffman put in a strong outing in the circle for the Lady Rebels. She gave up one earned run, yielded seven hits and struck out four. South Central hit the ball well, but weren’t able to push across runs late. Brittany Schoen had a double and Brittany Hornickel, Justine Huffman, Paige Kingsley and Kayla Hurley each had a single.