Electric atmosphere sees Lady Eagles snag regional
Beaming with confidence with truckloads full of fans behind them, the Lanesville softball team pleased the Eagles’ faithful with a 6-0 shutout of Orleans in the Class 1A Lanesville Regional last Tuesday.
Katelyn Hurley turned in a masterful performance in the circle, holding Orleans scoreless while scattering four hits. Only once did the Lady Bulldogs have a runner in scoring position, a Brooklyn Cromwell double in the sixth.
From that, it was all Hurley, who struck out 12 batters and walked one.
‘She’s pitching the best she’s ever pitched right now,’ Lanesville coach Eric Pavey said. ‘She’s doing really well. The main thing is hitting her spots. I thought she got tired at one point, letting some pitches go a little high, but she regrouped and brought the ball back down.’
Teammate Peyton Sonner pointed out Hurley’s, nicknamed Scrappy, performance.
‘Scrappy pitched one heck of a game for us,’ Sonner said. ‘She did awesome.’
It did take a few innings for Lanesville’s offense to start clicking against Orleans twirler Sydney Owens. The two teams met back in early April, with Lanesville winning 4-0 at Orleans.
‘We knew we beat them previously, so we came into this one confident but not overconfident,’ Lanesville’s Regan Walker said. ‘We saw how we came back from a regular season loss to Borden to beat them. We had to come hard no matter the regular-season game.’
Walker was a key part to Lanesville putting up its first runs in the third inning. Hero of the Borden championship game Shelby Adams started the frame by beating out a bunt single. Katelyn Pavey joined her on the base paths after getting plunked by a pitch.
A sacrifice bunt by Hurley put the pair in scoring position for Laynie Collins. She delivered with a run-scoring double to the right center-field fence.
‘We led off with a bunt, but, once we got the first run in, we calmed down,’ Eric Pavey said. ‘I could see our girls were amped up to be in the regional.’
Following Collins, Mickey Randolph scored Pavey when the latter beat out a throw home on a fielder’s choice hit back to Owens.
Walker then cleaned up the bases with a two-run single. The throw up the line saw Randolph collide with Orleans catcher Hanna Shaw before touching home for a 4-0 Lanesville lead.
‘The middle of the lineup is seeing the ball well,’ Pavey said. ‘They are coming around at the right time. It was the top of the lineup carrying us and, at times, the bottom has done well. It’s a team effort.’
Pavey said aggressiveness on the base paths has helped, too.
‘Our girls have been heads up, looking to take a double instead of a single to get into scoring position,’ he said.
Randolph came up with another big knock in the fifth to add another run. She belted a triple off the center-field fence, scoring Collins. Later scoring, Randolph danced at third base to draw a bad throw from Owens on a pick-off.
The six runs were plenty for Hurley and the tight defense behind her.
‘I knew we could do it; it just was if our team could pull it together and get over that hump of beating Borden,’ Lanesville third baseman Nia Tomes said. ‘Now we’ve done that, so we are confident.’
There wasn’t a seat to be had around Schickel Field, but the Big Purple Nation supporters elevated the noise level with each score. Another loud moment came when Randolph threw out Jacqulin Gerkin trying to stretch a single into a double. A quick tag by second baseman Mackenzie Miller sent Gerkin to the dugout in the fourth inning.
‘Some people were looking for a let down, but I think they gained more confidence,’ coach Pavey said. ‘I’ve told them so many times about us knocking on the door, and we finally kicked it down by beating Borden.’
Collins and Walker ” the middle part of Lanesville’s lineup ” finished with two hits apiece. Shelby Adams also had a pair of hits, while Randolph and Katelyn Pavey had one apiece.
Coach Pavey said the early season win versus Orleans led to some knowledge of the opponent, mainly the strength of pitcher Owens.
‘You can’t get up there and scout (Orleans), but you know they are a better team because they made a regional,’ Pavey said. ‘They made it here, just like us, so we knew they improved. Their pitcher averaged 11 strikeouts per game, so we knew she’s pretty good.’
Upon recording the final out, a short fly caught by Miller, the Lady Eagles went into celebration mode. Fireworks fired off from across the road beyond the third-base dugout along with another firetruck party through town.
‘As soon as we got here, there was already a crowd of people sitting around the field,’ Sonner said of the crowd size. ‘It was amazing. Everyone was cheering for us. It was the best feeling.’
Fans were three and four deep along the foul-line fences with a few couches and a trailer packed with students beyond the outfielders.
‘It was crazy,’ Walker said. ‘It was the most people I’ve seen at this field. That trailer was awesome. It made us feel the support from our community, helping us see everybody.’
Coach Pavey said his wife had to make a seating adjustment as well.
‘Lanesville has always traveled well to support its teams,’ he said. ‘For the whole town to come out was amazing to see. My wife tried to find a spot for a seat and she was told the area was being saved for somebody else. My wife even had to move from her spot. It’s amazing having the boys’ baseball team on a trailer for us cheering.’
The win moved Lanesville to the North Daviess Semi-state where they faced Tecumseh.
Orleans 000 000 0 ‘ 0 4 2
Lanesville 004 020 x ‘ 6 8 0
W ‘ Hurley, L ‘ Owens.
2B ‘ Cromwell (O), Walker (L), Collins (L); 3B ‘ Randolph (L).