NEW MADISON – After building a lead, the Tri-Village Patriots allowed the Mississinawa Valley Blackhawks to make a late run and tie the game.
But after allowing the Blackhawks to tie the game in their half of the seventh inning, the Patriots scored a run in the bottom half of the seventh to take back the lead and gain a win for freshman pitcher Loraligh Waters. Blackhawk pitcher Taylor Collins, also a freshman, took the loss.
Waters’ battery mate, freshman catcher Kelsie Wehr took a pitch directly to the chest in the fifth inning. It made an awful thump that could be heard throughout the stands, and she immediately dropped. She eventually made it off the field under her own power. Her back up had to finish what turned out to be a close game.
The Patriots had a breakout inning in the fourth where they batted around and scored seven runs. But after this, the Patriot bats grew cold, and the Blackhawks gradually turned up the heat as they made a bid at a comeback.
It was 8-5 at the end of the fifth inning. And the seventh inning got off to a shaky start as the first two Blackhawk hitters reached base, and then the next two batters where hit by pitches.
After Blackhawk Bailey Emrick knocked in the tying run, Waters settled back down and struck out the next batter to end the inning.
But the damage had been done – it was now a tie ball game at eight-all. As fate would have it, Waters reached base on a single and advanced to third base on wild pitches. Teammate Madi Foreman connected on a pitch, and Waters was able to score the winning run.
“I thought we had a couple of questionable calls at the end,” Mississinawa Valley softball coach Ray Lutz said. “But we can’t change what the umpires did; we just have to do what we can. We were down early 8-2, but we battled back and tied it there in the end. We are continuing to grow and we are battling – not giving up.”
Lutz praised shortstop Taydem Elson, who turned a heads-up double play.
“We have preached throughout the year to take care of the small things,” he said. “She had a good heads-up play. She was mentally aware that the girl was off the bag at second base. She came too far, and she tagged her out and still was able to make the throw to first for the double play.”
“Our girls needed this win – so it didn’t matter if it was close or not,” Tri-Village softball coach Tracy Barhorst said. “We have been struggling. We played good enough defense and got the sticks out today. We are young, and they are still learning the game. Once we have things mastered, we will be in the thick of things. Sometimes inexperience hurts us.”