Lady Highlanders roll over Lady Eagles
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The Lanesville Lady Eagles came into their game against host Floyd Central with limited resources due to having just nine players because of injury and illness. The Lady Highlanders quickly picked apart Lanesville’s only pitcher and hit the ball all over the field, resulting in a 16-2 win in five innings.
“They came up here and gave the best fight they could give it,” said Lanesville coach Steve Sonner. “That’s all we have, one pitcher coming up here, so that’s it. They’ve obviously got bigger numbers than we do but it’s 4-A versus 1-A.”
“It’s a good opportunity for the younger kids, moreso, to get their feet wet for next year,” said Floyd Central coach Seran Payne. “We haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to do that this year because a lot of our run-rules have come in the last inning, where we weren’t set up to do that. Today was a really good opportunity for that.”
The game began with Floyd Central pitcher Emory Waterbury throwing rockets across the plate, striking out Lanesville’s first three batters. The Floyd Cenrtral bats then went to work for four runs. Kylie Franks and Peyton Drummond both singled then, with one out, Lavin Osborne walked, loading the bases. With two outs, Riley Chumbley fired a shot for a double to empty the bases for three runs. Reece Davis followed with a single to score Chumbley, and Floyd Central’s lead went to 4-0.
Lanesville went three up and out in the top of the second. In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Highlanders added five more runs to their total. Waterbury walked, and Isabella Ettel came in to run for the Floyd Central pitcher. Ettel got picked off trying to steal second. Franks walked, and Drummond followed with a bunt single.
Taylor Chumbley singled, but Franks got pegged on the throw to home. Drummond, however, took advantage of a Lanesville mental mistake to score for a 5-0 lead. Osborne walked, then Kendall Brown singled, scoring Ettel. Riley Chumbley then put a shot over the left-field fence for three more runs, and the Lady Highlanders’ lead ballooned to 9-0.
Sonner said trying to cut down on the mental errors was a goal for the game.
“Basically trying to play error-free softball,” he said. “For some reason, we’ve got the error bug this year and we just can’t get over it. Overall, they hit the ball. They’re a good hitting team one through nine, and I thought we did all right. I thought we did the best we could do.”
Lanesville got a base runner on in the top of the third inning when Samantha Lawyer walked, but the Lady Eagles failed to convert. Floyd Central followed that with four more runs in the bottom of the inning for a 13-9 lead.
Madalyn Luckhardt took over in the pitching ring for the Lady Highlanders, and the fourth inning went scoreless for both teams. In the top of the fifth, Lanesville got two of those runs back. Morgan Sonner singled then, with one out, Kaylei Pucket walked. Lily Clifford singled, scoring Sonner. Irelynn Hewitt Ball ground out, but Puckett scored on the play for a second run. Senior Riley Chumbley, who had never pitched in a game before, came in to finish the inning and game as the Lady Highlanders got the 13-2 win.
“She’s joked about it for three years, ever since Dallas Henderson did it a few years ago,” Payne said of Chumbley pitching. “Dallas got a one-two-three inning, and she always talked about how she could do it. In practice, she acted like she could do it. She always asked for Senior Day if she could get one batter. I said, ‘I’ll give you one batter.’ Luckily, her sister bailed her out because it was not going to go well I think.”
“I just wish we were 100%,” Sonner said. “If we were 100%, we’d get more out of it but, obviously, we need to face good pitching. I’d rather play teams like this all day long than not.”
Floyd Central finished with 16 hits for the game, Reece Davis, Peyton Drummond and Riley Chumbley with three hits each, and Kylie Franks, Kendall Brown and Emory Waterbury all hitting on twice. Floyd Central’s three pitchers combined for six strikeouts and five walks. The Lady Highlanders had no errors and left two runners on base.
“They did a really good job of hitting the ball hard,” Payne said. “We did’t get as many over (the fence) as we usually do, but they hit the ball hard throughout the day.”
Lanesville finished with just two hits for the five innings. Morgan Sonner had one strikeout and four walks. The Lady Eagles had one error and left five runners on base.
“They came back a little bit and had some fight to it,” Sonner said. “They’re a good-hitting team, top to bottom, and could hit home runs at any time. We held them to one so, if that’s a true victory, we’ll take anything we can get. It’s great for sectional. I wish we could play more teams like this to get ready. It’s a good group of girls and a great team with this group of girls. They fight for each other, and I’m tickled to death with that.”
“I think we’re playing pretty well right now,” Payne said. “Defensively, we’re pretty clean and all the phases we’ve played well the past week. The biggest thing now is to continue hitting the ball hard and run the bases aggressively, which we did today. We’re now nine home runs away from setting the all-time state record for home runs, so that’s a goal. The only way we’re going to do that is hit the all hard the next two games.”