Classic again — Lanesville gets NW
Those who witnessed the Class A Lanesville Sectional final were treated to what was expected. There was another pitcher’s battle between Lanesville’s Emma Zeller and New Washington’s Whitney Morris, along with a wild one-run ballgame.
It’s become commonplace in the rivalry, but, this time around, the host Lady Eagles celebrated the program’s second sectional title in the last three years with a 1-0 victory.
‘It’s an amazing feeling,’ Lanesville’s Brooklynn Keinsley said. ‘They beat us 1-0 in the regular season and 1-0 last year in sectional. We were out to get them. This is our year.’
Keinsley had a key role in producing the game’s lone run, which came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Leadoff batter Amanda Pavey drew a base on balls, bringing the clean-up hitter Keinsley to the dish.
Laying down a bunt toward the third-base line, Keinsley was not only able to move Pavey up a base, but the swift and aware Pavey took third base with ease on the play.
‘I was just going to second and, if the ball went past first, I was ready to go,’ Pavey said. ‘I just kept going.’
‘I felt good about the inning,’ Keinsley said. ‘When Amanda got on, I got the bunt down. I didn’t think she was going to third, but, when I looked over, I saw she was there and I knew that moment was it.’
With Erica Daly at bat, Morris skipped a ball in front of home plate that eventually went past the catcher. Pavey darted home to slide in safely to put the first and only run on the board.
Pavey, however, wasn’t too terribly excited at first.
‘Well, my butt stung, but it was all good,’ she said. ‘It hasn’t hit me yet, but it will.’
Between the walls of the dugout at Schickel Field, the Lady Eagles celebrated wildly.
‘I was jumping up and down, hugging and shaking people,’ Keinsley said. ‘There were lots of smiles and happy thoughts.’
Lanesville coach Rusty Cecil said the key moment was Pavey’s awareness to take third base.
‘That was the play in the game,’ Cecil said. ‘They didn’t have anybody covering third. It was heads-up running by Amanda. Had she stopped at second, who knows? She kept coming, and we were able to use her speed to get home on the passed ball.’
The excitement didn’t end after the bottom of the sixth inning. A key defensive play in the top of the seventh helped secure the win. With one out, Coari Robertson hit a shot to the right-field fence. Lanesville’s Rachel Gary fired the ball in to Robyn Schoen, who relayed the throw to third. Robertson was gunned down easily when Jessica DeWeese applied the tag, ending her hope to turn the double into a triple.
‘From what I understand, they were waving her to third with the big hitter on deck,’ Cecil said. ‘I couldn’t believe she went, but Robyn made the play.’
One last batter stood in the way of the sectional title, and Zeller was up to the task. She had to square off against Brooke Shaw, who earlier in the game had a 17-pitch at-bat that included plunking two vehicles with foul balls.
Zeller was able to induce a pop-up, and the celebration began behind second base.
‘We didn’t give up today,’ Pavey said. ‘Sometimes we tend to give up, but we didn’t today. People kept asking us in school if it was going to be a good game, but we knew it would be a close one. It was insane.’
Lanesville had the best shot to score early on, loading the bases with two outs in the opening inning. Pavey and Daly drew walks, while Keinsley had a single. The Lady Eagles weren’t able to score.
From that point until the sixth, it returned to a Morris-Zeller battle.
At one point, Zeller retired 14 in a row before Robertson hit the double in the seventh. There was a scare in the bottom of the fourth when, after Zeller singled, she stole second but was spiked on the play. She left the game briefly when Kirsten Henke took the courtesy running duties.
Zeller attended to the cut on her non-throwing hand then returned to dominance in the circle.
‘I thought it was maybe an ankle or knee the way she reacted but it was a cut on her finger,’ Cecil said. ‘We just courtesy ran for her. She came right back and threw strikes.’
Zeller threw a two-hitter, striking out seven. Morris closed her career with a nine strikeout performance over 6-1/3 innings.
‘(Morris) pitched the whole game last night, and Emma didn’t,’ Cecil said. ‘We pitched Robyn (Schoen in the semi-final), and I think it gave us an advantage.’
The win was a big one for the Lady Eagles, who had dropped a few in a row to the Lady Mustangs.
‘I’ve never won a sectional and, to play this team four times in my life, to finally beat them is awesome,’ Pavey said. ‘It’s always a one- or two-run game.’
Lanesville advanced to the one-game regional it hosted last night (Tuesday) against Springs Valley. If the Lady Eagles won, they move on to the North Daviess Regional to play in the 11 a.m. game against either Clay City or Indianapolis Lutheran.