By Drew Terhall
ARCANUM — It was a back and forth game at Franklin Monroe on April 11. The Lady Jets hosted Bradford in a softball showdown with the bats being the main story of the game. The Lady Railroaders came out on top, 12-9, in this one.
Bradford head coach Shon Shaffer said playing in a game like this helps the team be more comfortable in close games down the road.
“Winning a back and forth no matter what you’re doing or what they’re doing, but the ups and downs of it hardens you to play those close games,” Shaffer said.
The Lady Railroaders started the game off scoring two runs in the first inning. Senior Shay Swick and junior Tegan Canan each drove in a run. Franklin Monroe scored in the bottom of the third to make it a 2-1 game.
Bradford regained their two-run lead with a RBI by senior Izzy Hamilton in the fourth. The inning ended when the Lady Jets got a runner out at home to stay behind two runs.
Then Franklin Monroe got to work. They started the bottom of the fourth with runners at the corners and no one out. Junior Joanie Hall was able to steal home on a throw to second base to make it a 3-2 game. Freshman Alivia Addis tied the game up with a RBI. Senior Madison Henninger then drove in a run to give the Lady Jets a 4-3 lead.
Franklin Monroe head coach Jared Morris said he was pleased with how the team reacted to the different situations in the game.
“I’m happy with how we responded to every pressure situation here. Didn’t have enough in the last, but we at least scored two runs in the last inning with two outs. We just got to keep putting the ball in play and make something happen,” Morris said.
Bradford responded in the fifth with two more runs of their own to regain the lead. After knotting it up to 4-4, freshman Nevaeh Jones hit her first career home run to give her team the 5-4 lead.
Franklin Monroe came to the plate and scratched across three more runs to take a 7-5 lead. Henninger and sophomore Ashley Saylor each drove in a run in the fifth.
In the sixth inning, Bradford control over the game and gained the lead for the last time. They scored five runs to go up 10-7 heading into the bottom of the sixth. In the inning, junior Alani Canan and Swick each drove in a run. Jones continued to have a day with a two-run knock in the sixth. Shaffer said it was good to see Jones have a good day at the plate.
The Lady Railroaders are still finding out if they are a power hitting team or more of a contact team at the plate. Shaffer said no matter if they are still searching for that answer, it was great to see the team continue to compete.
“They’re trying to learn their identity right now whether they are a big hitting team or a small ball team,” Shaffer said. “This was good to see them fight through it and keep fighting.”
The Lady Jets were held scoreless in the sixth. Bradford scored two insurance runs in the seventh before Franklin Monroe came up to bat.
Franklin Monroe went out swinging. With two outs in the seventh, Saylor scored two more runs to inch closer. They just couldn’t get a rally going late.
Morris said it was good for his team to be in those types of situations against a really good team in Bradford. It’s better to have that experience now and use it down the road.
“I think it’s good for them to feel a pressure situation against a good team. I’m hoping this can pay off for us later in the season and we respond, hopefully, on the winning side,” Morris said.
For Franklin Monroe, junior Keihl Johnosn was on the mound for the seven innings and struck out five batters. Hamilton was on the mound for Bradford for all seven innings and racked up 11 strikeouts.
The Lady Jets are 3-6 (2-1) and will host Tri-County North on April 13 for another conference game. The Lady Railroaders are 3-4 (3-1) and will travel to Preble Shawnee on April 13 for another conference game. Both games are set for a 5 p.m. first pitch.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]