Posted on

Lady Eagles roll past Crawford

Lady Eagles roll past Crawford
Lady Eagles roll past Crawford
Lanesville’s Melissa Schoen scores a run for the Lady Eagles as Crawford County’s Violet Ridenour waits for the ball. Photo by Wade Bell
Wade Bell, Sports Writer

The Lanesville Lady Eagles softball team kept its record spotless at 5-0 Thursday afternoon by overpowering visiting Crawford County in a 12-0 shutout. Both teams are young, but the Lady Eagles are off to a rousing start while Crawford County has players learning and improving.

“With COVID last year and not playing, obviously, for the sophomores and freshmen, I’ve got eight out of the 14 that haven’t played high school ball,” said Lanesville coach Steve Sonner. “A lot of them are raw and trying to work it in, but I’m really happy with the improvement in our team.”

“A work in progress,” said Crawford County coach Kyia Oppel. “We’re doing a lot of good things and really making improvements but, when it comes to crunch time, we’ve got to keep our heads up and not get down on ourselves. That’s the biggest thing really. Compared to where we started out this year to where we’ve got the girls to where we are now, they’re getting better every day. We’ve just got to keep working hard and pushing, and we’ll keep improving.”

Maddie Sargent led off Crawford County’s first at-bat with a double but would get no farther with the next three Lady Pack’s batters going three up and out. In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Eagles put their first two runs on the board. With two outs, Ellie Schneider doubled then stole third. Hannah Nunemaker followed with a double, scoring Schneider. Danielle Haire reached second on a Crawford County error, scoring Nunemaker, and Lanesville had a 2-0 lead.

“The very first lead-off hitter hit one to right field and normally, in the past, we get down on that and get down in ourselves,” said Sonner. “We got our bats going after that. We were able to find a way to get three up and three down after that and get out of that inning and then just hit the ball and be aggressive like we have in practice.”

Violet Ridenour rapped a single for Crawford County to start the second inning, but the Lanesville defense kept the Lady Pack from converting. In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Eagles increased their lead to 7-0 highlighted by a Nunemaker three-run home run over the right-field fence.

Nunemaker struck out the side in Crawford County’s next at-bat. In the bottom of the third, Lanesville added five more to its total. Haley Gowens laid down a bunt single, and Makenna Magner followed with a single, moving Gowens to third. With two outs, Morgan Sonner doubled, scoring both runners. Schneider then hit a rare inside-the-park home run for two more runs and a 12-0 lead.

The Lady Eagles got two more runs in the bottom of the fourth and held Crawford County in the top of the fifth for the 14-0 win.

“It was a good game overall,” said the Lanesville coach. “We concentrated a lot on hitting and a lot on base running. That was our last goal at practice, just working hard on it.”

“I’m really proud of the seniors, honestly, for being leaders out there and trying to keep the young ones up,” Oppel said. “We’re starting freshmen and sophomores who didn’t get to play last year, so I’m really proud of the seniors and the upperclassmen that we do have trying to keep the girls up and doing the best they can at that because they do have experience.”

Lanesville finished with 15 hits, with Schneider hitting on three times and Samantha Lawyer, Nunemaker and Elle Brooks getting two each. Nunemaker struck out seven Crawford County batters, and Lawyer struck out one. The Lady Eagles had no errors and left three runners on base.

“We work on the inside and outside, a lot of hitting,” coach Sonner said of the home runs. “(Schneider) took an outside pitch and went to right field like you’re supposed to. It had a little hook on it, and it was hard for the right-fielder to play that.”

Crawford County had two hits for the day. Cheyenne Pierpoint and Hannah Ashley combined for three strikeouts and one hit batter. The Lady Pack had one error and left two runners on base.

“We’re starting three freshmen right now,” Oppel said. “Because of COVID and everything, they didn’t get to play last year. The sophomores didn’t get to play as freshmen, so they’re pretty much starting from scratch as varsity players, too.

“They’re doing the best that they can,” she said. “They’re giving it a lot of effort and really trying their best out there. That’s all we can ask of them. They’re learning a lot, and it’s a learning process.”

With both teams loaded with players with little experience, the Lady Eagles and Lady Pack have to work a little harder between now and the post-season.

“We’ve just got a lot of raw underclassmen,” Steve Sonner said. “I think with experience I hope they can hit their peak along with our upperclassmen. When they hit their peak, I don’t know what their limitations would be.

“It’s still too early in the season to think what they could be,” he said. “There’s a lot of softball left. Injuries, it’s just getting started and I’ve got two injuries already. Hopefully, we can get through that. We’ve got good senior leadership, so I think that’s really going to help carry the pressure of the game for the younger players.”

“From point A to point B to where we are now, they’ve improved tremendously,” Oppel said. “It comes down to making the routine plays. I think if we get that down, then we’ll be OK. Right now we’re not doing that … We still have three-fourths of the season left, but making the routine plays has to get better. I know they can do it. They’re hard-working girls. All of them give great effort, so I think they can do it.”

Crawford County   000   00 –    0     2   1

Lanesville               255   2X – 14   15   0

WP-Nunemaker, LP-Pierpoint (2-4); 1b-Ridenour (CC), Kerr (L), Lawyer (L) 2, Sonner (L), Gowens (L), Magner (L), Brooks (L), Schoen (L); 2b-Sargent (CC), Schneider (L) 2, Nunemaker (L), Sonner (L), Brooks (L); HR-Nunemaker (L), Schneider (L); Records-Lanesville 5-0, Crawford County 2-5