Eagles roll by SC in sectional opener
Meeting again three days after their regular season game, South Central and Lanesville threw one another curve balls when it came to starting pitchers.
Both teams twirled a different starter in the Class A Lanesville Sectional semi-final Monday. Lanesville went with Robyn Schoen, who put in a masterful performance, striking out five without walking a batter. She would give up two hits leading to a 10-0 shutout in six innings.
‘Robyn pitched a whale of a game,’ Lanesville coach Rusty Cecil said.
South Central countered with Haley Shaffer, who has accounted for each of the team’s five wins on the season but didn’t face Lanesville last Friday. Shaffer managed 11 strikeouts, but Lanesville found ways to score.
Already clinging to a 1-0 lead after the first inning, the Lady Eagles pored on three additional runs in the second.
Jessica DeWeese drew a lead-off walk, but Shaffer turned around and recorded a strikeout and ground out. Nearly escaping the inning unharmed, an error on a ground ball hit by Morgan Williams kept the inning alive.
Cashing in, Amanda Pavey came up with a double to score a run. Then, out of the clean-up spot, Brooklynn Keinsley, for the second at-bat in a row, put down a well-placed bunt for a hit. The effort scored courtesy runner Kirsten Henke.
The inning allowed the Lady Eagles to lead 4-0.
Shaffer settled in for the third and fourth innings in the circle, striking out five in a row at one point.
‘Haley looked great. She’s a good pitcher and will become a great pitcher once she believes in herself more,’ South Central coach Israel Temple said.
Keeping perfect through 4-2/3 innings, Schoen gave up her first hit in the fifth. Kelsey Eckart poked a single with two outs but was stranded on second base when Megan Crosier grounded out.
In the top half of the sixth inning, Lanesville rolled a six spot on the board.
DeWeese hit a single then reached second on a fielding error. She would move to third when Tara Borders put down a sac bunt. Nearly recording the second out with a strikeout of Shaffer’s counterpart, Schoen reached on a wild pitch.
A hit by Williams then a walk by Pavey set up Keinsley’s third hit of the day. This time, she didn’t bunt; rather, she laced a liner to right field that was misplayed on the bounce, allowing the speedster to reach third. The effort cleared the bases.
‘Brooklynn’s speed was a big part of our success,’ Cecil said. ‘She made it to third on the error; she bunted for hits twice and can steal bases. The reason we have her up there isn’t because she’s a power hitter, but a smart player that gives us options.’
‘This was the epitome of our season,’ Temple said. ‘We can hang around games but we make one mistake here then one mistake there, it can be costly. With a young team, there is really little room for error.’
Emma Zeller added an RBI double later in the frame to reach the 10-run lead.
‘(Shaffer) was a little better than we saw the other night,’ Cecil said. ‘Shaffer has won all the games they won this year and she threw well. We were able to capitalize on a few bobbles here and there.’
Shaffer led off the bottom of the sixth with a single then was moved over by a Deidre Butler sacrifice before being stranded at third.
‘The bad thing is, we hit the ball pretty well,’ Temple said. ‘We didn’t strike out much, but we hit the ball right at people. Erica (Daly) made a great catch early in the game, but we couldn’t catch breaks.’
Williams and Keinsley finished the game with three hits each, while DeWeese had a pair of hits.
‘The thing is, Morgan is hitting No. 2 but she makes contact,’ Cecil said. ‘Morgan brings speed to the No. 2 spot, which I really like. If she gets on, it sets it up for Pavey, who is really our most consistent hitter.
Lanesville advanced to the sectional final that was played last night (Tuesday) against New Washington. The Lady Mustangs defeated Borden 10-0 in six innings in the semi-final.
The Lady Rebels’ season ended with a 5-12 record. They graduate one senior, Samantha Turner, and also lose exchange student Zoe Zweiblemann.
‘Sam is an absolute team player,’ Temple said. ‘She went from centerfield, where she wanted to play, to first base, where she had to play, to catcher when there was nothing else left. She’s the definition of character. I’m going to miss her.’
Playing a host of young players has South Central ready to continue forward with the softball program.
‘We had three freshmen start much of the year and a lot of sophomores play,’ Temple said. ‘The mental part of the game is where we need to get better.’