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Not-so-cold bats take charge for Lady Eagles

Not-so-cold bats take charge for Lady Eagles
Not-so-cold bats take charge for Lady Eagles
Lanesville centerfielder Jillian Kaufmann races in to make a catch to take away a possible Providence hit last Tuesday. Photos by Brian Smith
Brian Smith, Sports Editor

One way to stay warm on a chilly afternoon on the diamond is to run.
For the Lanesville softball team’s offense last Tuesday, there was plenty of running around the bases in the season-opening frame.
Circling the bags for seven first-inning runs, Lanesville used the powerful start to land a 15-2 five-inning victory over Providence at Schickel Field in Lanesville.
‘We are glad to get outside and see some live pitching,’ said Lanesville coach Steve Sonner, who picked up his first win as well in the coaching box. ‘It was a game to get out some first-time jitters for some of our girls. I thought our freshmen came in and played a big role. They got us some big hits to get things going. I’m pretty excited.’
Before Lanesville picked up the bats for the first time, the Lady Eagles needed to flash a little leather. Providence’s Anna Thomas and Sydney Shireman reached on a single and double, respectively, to put some early pressure on Lanesville. Quick to respond, Lanesville shortstop Irelynn Hewett-Ball caught a liner off the bat of Brooklyn Nolot and quickly doubled off Thomas at third.
Twirler Abby Duncan then induced a Kayce Quinn flyout to bring the Lady Eagles to bat.
‘We had a freshman make a big play to turn a double play after we got ourselves in a little trouble,’ Sonner said. ‘We were good after that.’
Duncan, along with two more Lady Eagles, batted twice in the lengthy bottom of the first inning. Duncan and two-hitter Mackenzie Miller drew walks. Then came a rash of three straight singles via Hewett-Ball, Hannah Nunemaker and Lily Romeo.
Nunemaker’s pull shot to right field drove in a pair of runs. Danielle Haire then brought in two more runs to make it 5-0 when she reached on a throwing error. Haire scored when Grace Smith belted a double.
Two batters later, Whitney VanMeter plated Smith with a single, putting the score at 7-0 after one inning.
Lively bats were a welcome sight for Sonner and the Lady Eagles. Much of the early preseason, due to wet and cold temperatures, had been spent indoor.
‘We were able to bat all the way through the first time,’ coach said. ‘It was nice to see all our hard work pay off. You are limited when you practice inside on what you can and can’t do. We tried to focus on a lot of hitting what defense we can do when we are inside.’
Providence put a pair of runners on base in the second inning with a single from Katie Olker, then Elle O’Bannon drew a two-out free pass. Duncan escaped the danger by fanning Elyse Kristainsen.
The visiting team managed to score two runs in the third with a two-run single from clean-up hitter Quinn.
Lanesville’s offense continued to click by adding at least two runs during the second through fourth innings.
In the second, Haire reached on a hit by pitch and later scored when Smith reached on an outfield error. A wild pitch from Providence pitcher Quinn led to Smith crossing the plate.
Duncan and Miller crossed the dish in the third after reaching on a single and walk, respectively. Nunemaker drew a bases-loaded walk to plate a run, while Romeo brought in Miller with a sacrifice fly to center.
Four more runs came in during the fourth with half of them coming on a Duncan double.
In the circle, Duncan went four innings to pick up the victory. She closed out strong by striking out the side in the fourth. Four punch-outs were credited to Duncan, who walked two and gave up four hits. Smith pitched an inning of relief, striking out one while allowing one base runner, via error.
‘It was nice to get two pitchers some work,’ Sonner said. ‘We have another pitcher we wanted to bring in but we will use her against Jeff … Our freshmen coming up with big hits was good to see for a young group. We want to keep the train on the tracks.’
Duncan reached all four times she batted, drawing two walks and collecting two hits. Out of the two-hole, Miller drew three walks, scoring each of those times. Smith, one of the starting freshmen along with Hewett-Ball, had two hits.
In addition to the double play in the first inning, Lanesville had a flashy play from Jillian Kaufman in center, racing in for a sliding catch to take away a hit.
Lanesville will return to action tonight (Wednesday) when the Lady Eagles host Salem. The Lady Eagles will travel to Orleans on Friday.

Providence 002 00 ‘ 2 4 5
Lanesville 722 4x ‘ 15 8 2
W ‘ Abby Duncan, L ‘ K. Quinn.
2B ‘ S. Shireman (P), Abby Duncan (L), G. Smith (L); 3B ‘ G. Smith (L).