VERSAILLES – After spotting Anna a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning, the Versailles softball team played solid the rest of the Monday’s Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament opener and won 5-3.
“That was great for us,” Versailles softball coach Mechelle Heitkamp said. “I’d much rather play a game that you have to battle and you have to play hard to get that victory. I think that’s a great start.”
The game started off rough for Versailles with Anna’s M. Richard and A. Phillips leading off with back-to-back singles. R. Osborn then was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs.
Anna’s P. Richard then reached on an error, which allowed a run to score and put the Rockets up 1-0. Versailles got the first out of the inning on a force out at home but then gave up another single to O. Place to make it 2-0 before Lauren Heitkamp got out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
“First inning was rough for her,” Coach Heitkamp said of her pitcher, Lauren Heitkamp. “She was getting the ball up in the zone more. I thought after the first inning she did a great job, hit her spots.”
Versailles cut into Anna’s lead in the bottom half of the inning as Kristin Langston led off with a double, advanced to second a sacrifice grounder by Kami McEldowney and scored on a single by Cori Lawrence.
The Tigers then tied the game in the third inning. Kami McEldowney led off with a single, which was followed by back-to-back walks to Lawrence and Hailey McEldowney. Danielle Poor then hit a sacrifice fly into right field, driving in Kami McEldowney and tying the game at 2-2.
One inning later Versailles took its first lead of the day. Courtney McEldowney was hit by a pitch and Morgan Heitkamp reached on an error to start the rally.
After Langston hit into a fielder’s choice, Kami McEldowney doubled to drive in Morgan Heitkamp and put Versailles up 3-2. Lawrence then drove in Langston with a sacrifice grounder and Hailey McEldowney drove in Kami McEldowney with an infield single to put Versailles up 5-2.
Anna scored the game’s final run in the fifth inning as M. Richard reached second on a Versailles error in the outfield and scored on a single by Phillips.
Versailles shut down Anna the next two innings with solid defense, including an over-the-shoulder catch from Langston at short, to preserve the 5-3 victory.
“Awesome,” Coach Heitkamp said of her team’s defense. “Langston had a great day at shortstop, unbelievable catch there at the end of the game. I’m so proud of how they played as a team.”
Versailles finished the game with 10 hits and three errors while Anna had four hits and two errors.
Kami McEldowney went 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs for Versailles. Langston was 2-for-4 with a double and scored two runs. Hailey McEldowney went 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base and a RBI.
Lawrence was 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Courtney McEldowney was 1-for-2 and was hit by a pitch. Morgan Heitkamp went 1-for-3 and scored a run. Brynna Blakeley went 1-for-3. Poor drove in a run.
Lauren Heitkamp pitched the complete game, allowing two earned runs and one unearned run on four hits, no walks, two hit batters and six strikeouts.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.