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DeWeese comes up clutch in 10th

DeWeese comes up clutch in 10th
DeWeese comes up clutch in 10th
LanesvilleÂ’s Jessica DeWeese takes a cut Monday for the game-winning hit against North Harrison. Her single to center field plated Erica Daly for the winning run in the 10th inning. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

‘That was nerve wracking,’ said Lanesville’s Jessica DeWeese, describing her final at-bat Monday against North Harrison.
The nerves weren’t evident when DeWeese rounded first base after she hit a sharp single to center field in the 10th inning, breaking a tie against the Lady Cats. Her hit scored Erica Daly from second base, giving Lanesville a 3-2 win at Schickel Field.
‘It was a pitch right down the middle and, when I swung, I just hoped it went over the infield’s heads,’ DeWeese said.
Winning in extra innings has become almost commonplace for the Lady Eagles. On Friday, they defeated Paoli in nine innings while, a few weeks back, they did the same against Henryville.
Lanesville coach Rusty Cecil credited DeWeese for concentrating during her at-bat. With one out in the bottom of the 10th, DeWeese was asked to squeeze with runners on second and third. She was unable to reach the outside pitch, allowing North Harrison catcher Melanie Johnson to pick off Morgan Williams.
After taking a few pitches, she settled in to drive in the winner.
‘We squeezed there, and, yes, you’re supposed to get the bunt down, but she recuperated from it,’ Cecil said. ‘She hit a strike and drove in the big run. There’s nothing better than when a kid can overcome a mistake that quickly.’
The mental part of the game has been a focus lately for Lanesville.
‘I tell these kids to play the next play,’ Cecil said. ‘Nothing matters in the game until the last hit. We didn’t quit. Lately, they have been coming together as a team.’
Twirler Emma Zeller was stellar once again in the circle, striking out 19 in 10 innings.
‘Emma has been like that all year,’ Cecil said. ‘She’s lost a few games, but, when she’s lost, we haven’t played our best ball. Her and Robyn (Schoen’s) walks are way down this year.’
North Harrison struggled at the plate after scoring a run in the second and third innings. The team took advantage of a Bri Lampton walk to play small ball. With one out, Brittany Rudolph laid down a sac bunt but reached on a throwing error that allowed pinch runner Cammie Jones to score.
Utilizing the bunt in the third inning, Jourdan McAfee and Kendra Lambert led off the inning with singles by bunting. McAfee would eventually score when Brooke Lamon reached on an infield single.
From that point forward, the North Harrison offense saw only two reach base. Melanie Johnson had a two-out double in the sixth, then Katie Freeberg had a one-out single in the 10th. Both were stranded.
‘We couldn’t get the bat on the ball consistently,’ North Harrison assistant coach Mark Lamon said. ‘(Zeller) pitched a heck of a game.’
Each time North Harrison scored early, Lanesville quickly got the run back. In the bottom of the second, Amanda Pavey led off with a triple to left. She was brought home when DeWeese hit a sacrifice fly to the same portion of the field.
When North Harrison went back ahead 2-1 in the third, Lanesville’s response came in the fourth. Pavey got things going again with a single. She’d eventually score when Zeller reached first on an infield error.
Lanesville had ample opportunities to score in the later innings, but spectacular Lady Cats defensive plays spoiled them.
With the bases full of Lady Eagles in the fifth with one out, DeWeese lifted a short liner to center. Racing in, McAfee made the catch then threw a strike to home, gunning down a tag attempt for a double play.
‘McAfee has come along great,’ Lamon said. ‘She’s a learner and made a great play.’
Runners were on in the bottom of the ninth when North Harrison second baseman Kaylin Bright made a diving catch to rob Tara Borders of a hit. Bright made the shift from third base to second to fill in for the injured Kenedy House.
‘Defense was great today,’ Lamon said. ‘Kaylin, that is her natural position even though she played third for us earlier in the year. She’s at home over there. It does hurt not having Kenedy’s bat in the lineup.’
Lamon said he was encouraged by the effort of his pitcher, Rudolph, who went all 10 innings, striking out three.
‘Our pitcher Brittany pitched one of her better games of the year,’ he said. ‘She’s getting confident at the right time. She’s throwing strikes and keeping the ball down in the zone early in the count. Early in the season she was leaving too many balls up.’
Success for Lanesville came at the plate, making consistent contact. With strikeouts down against North Harrison, Cecil sees the season coming together nicely.
‘We hit the ball hard today, and our strikeouts have lessened,’ Cecil said. ‘You have to make the other team play defense. We still have some work to do on defense. I want to be better at the end of the year for the tournament, which is what we are doing.’
Williams and Pavey had two hits each for Lanesville. Williams added a sac bunt, while Pavey reached a third time via a walk.
Lanesville has a challenging weekend ahead when it plays Tecumseh and North Daviess on Saturday. Before then, the Lady Eagles will host Perry Central today (Wednesday).
‘This weekend we have tough ones with Tecumseh and North Daviess,’ Cecil said. ‘We’ll have to field bunts a little better, but we’re progressing. We’re molding together as a team.’
North Harrison will return home tomorrow to play Austin.