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10th-ranked Lady Eagles best Henryville, 13-6

10th-ranked Lady Eagles best Henryville, 13-6
10th-ranked Lady Eagles best Henryville, 13-6
Lanesville twirler Emma Zeller fires a pitch toward the plate in the late innings last Wednesday against rival Henryville. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Good things happen when the ball is put in play.
The philosophy worked for the Lanesville softball team last Wednesday when the Lady Eagles turned a three-run deficit into a 13-6 route over Southern Athletic Conference rival Henryville.
Lanesville coach Rusty Cecil said the team has been focusing on hitting strikes along with cutting down on strikeouts. The work paid off versus the Lady Hornets, with the Lady Eagles recording 11 hits while striking out just once.
‘You make teams play,’ Cecil said. ‘You put the ball in play, you never know what can happen. We’ve eliminated strikeouts, putting the ball in play, making teams make plays. Teams do that to us, and we have to do it back.’
Each member of the starting Lanesville nine reached base at some point during the game, either by hit or drawing a walk.
The Class A No. 10 Lady Eagles had to come back from a slow start. Natalie Basham plated two runs when she reached on an error in the first inning. In the second inning, Class 2A No. 13 Henryville increased its lead to 3-0 when Erin Hairston plated a run with a bunt hit. The Lady Hornets, however, left the bases loaded in the inning when Emma Zeller forced Basham to ground out.
From then on, it was all Lanesville.
The third inning got the momentum swinging the Lady Eagles’ way when the first six batters eventually scored.
Kayla Smith and Amber Parsons started the inning drawing walks, followed by Erica Daly bringing home Smith with a shot to right field. Everyone was safe when Amanda Pavey hit into a fielder’s choice, thanks to a misplayed ball at third.
Jessica DeWeese brought in the second run by drawing a walk. Afterward, the Henryville defense struggled, committing errors on balls hit by Anna Gibson and Robyn Schoen. Zeller added the sixth run of the inning with a sac fly to deep left to score Gibson.
‘I’m proud of them for coming back the way they did against a team like Henryville,’ Cecil said. ‘It’s tough to come back, but we did it. The girls are learning to not be too up or down, but to wait until that third out in the last inning to be happy.’
Henryville finished the game with six errors, while Lanesville had four.
Lanesville poured on five additional runs in the bottom of the fifth, extending the lead to 11-4. A DeWeese double and a Gibson single started the frame. Hits were later added by Zeller (single), Smith (double) and Daly (single). Smith finished the game with three RBIs while DeWeese and Gibson scored three times each.
‘We aren’t taking many strikes; instead, we’re swinging at strikes,’ Cecil said.
Daly and DeWeese had multiple hits in a rematch of last season’s Class A Sectional final. Henryville, however, has been moved to Class 2A, splitting the rivals.
‘We’re playing well,’ Cecil said. ‘If we can eliminate those errors, we’d play better. Hitting the ball has carried us. Kayla had a double in the gap, and Brooklynn (Keinsley) has really been hitting the ball hard the last couple games. We’re getting the bat on the ball and gaining confidence.’
The win moved the Lady Eagles to 3-0 in SAC play.
Zeller scored the win in the circle, pitching all seven innings, striking out seven. She gave up 10 hits, including three to Sydney Hollingsworth.
‘I told Emma last week to be prepared to pitch this game,’ Cecil said. ‘They hit her some, but she did a nice job throwing strikes.’
Lanesville will play at Paoli on Friday at 5 p.m.