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Eagles roll to regional

Eagles roll to regional
Eagles roll to regional
Lanesville senior Rachel Gary uses a bucket meant for sunflower seeds to pour water on coach Rusty Cecil after the team won regional. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

The Lanesville Lady Eagles didn’t want to fall to the wayside to a Cinderella story when they stepped onto the dirt at the Class A Regional last Tuesday in Lanesville.
The host Lady Eagles had to take on a team in Springs Valley that hadn’t experienced much success in the regular season, losing all 17 games. Yet in the postseason, they upset West Washington as part of a two-game winning streak.
That is where the streak ended. Shutout pitching by Emma Zeller, along with a big first inning of offense, led Lanesville to the softball program’s third regional title, defeating Springs Valley 7-0 at Schickel Field.
‘It was exciting, and I’m glad our defense has been on lately,’ Lanesville senior Amanda Pavey said. ‘I was a little nervous, but we’re taking it one game at a time.’
Pavey was part of the big first inning. On defense, she ended the top half of the frame with receiving a Zeller strikeout then throwing out Morgan Meehan as she attempted to steal second.
When Lanesville got to the plate, the Lady Eagles roughed up Meehan from the onset. The first four batters reached with Robyn Schoen hitting a single and Morgan Williams drawing a walk.
Coming up with the big hit to break the ice was Pavey. She muscled a triple down left field, plating both her teammates. Following Brooklynn Keinsley reaching on a bunt single, Erica Daly brought Pavey home with a shot that literally took Meehan’s glove off her left hand. Meehan managed to regroup and record the out.
‘I knew the first pitch was there,’ Pavey said of her first at-bat. ‘It didn’t feel like I hit it that hard, but that’s typically how big hits are.’
Joining in the first-inning fray was Jessica DeWeese with a run-scoring single, bringing the lead to 4-0 before Springs Valley lifted Meehan for Kristen Tomlinson.
‘I tell girls all year, to win big games, you have to hit the ball,’ Lanesville coach Rusty Cecil said. ‘We got up with two runners on for Amanda, and she knocked the heck out of the ball. That’s what you have to have, is people in clutch situations hit the ball hard.’
In the circle, Zeller was on cruise control. She finished with 12 strikeouts in seven innings without allowing a free pass. Springs Valley scattered four hits, two coming from Meehan.
The best chance for Springs Valley to score came in the sixth when Storri Gadau singled and later advanced to third on a sac bunt. A strikeout and a pop-out ended the lone threat.
‘Emma has been our bread and butter,’ Cecil said. ‘Her and Robyn had nice games (pitching) in the sectional. The girls deserve this and have worked hard.’
Lanesville added two runs in the fifth inning when Keinsley came up with her second hit, a triple to score Williams. While at third, Keinsley didn’t stay long as Daly brought her across the plate with a sac fly.
‘We slouched an inning or two when they switched pitchers,’ Cecil said. ‘Our pitch selection wasn’t the best because they were ready to hit. Some were too anxious, but that’s OK because I want them to swing.’
The defense closed the book on Springs Valley when Schoen snared a liner off the bat of Alex Land then doubled off Lauren Goodman at first base.
For the game, Lanesville had eight hits with seven starters providing the punch. Keinsley was the lone batter with multiple hits.
‘We did what we had to do and hit the ball a little bit,’ Cecil said. ‘The second girl came in and kept us off balance a little bit. Once our girls realized to lay off the high pitch and hit strikes, we’d hit the ball better.’
Cecil said he was pleased with the focus of his team, along with not taking the visitors lightly.
‘We knew it was a Cinderella story on their part,’ he said. ‘We were supposed to play them in the Crawford County Invitational, but it got rained out. We really didn’t know what to expect. (Assistant coach) Wendy (Schoen) scouted their game against West Washington, a team a lot thought would be here, and beat them.