NEW PARIS – The Mississinawa Valley Blackhawks softball team battled 50 mile an hour winds and the highly regarded National Trail Blazers before falling 14-4 in six innings Friday evening.
The Cross County Conference contest started off with the Blackhawks blackening the scoreboard with four runs before the Blazers knew what hit them. The 100 spectators saw the visiting squad of young Blackhawks spraying the ball to left and right field with lasers the Blazers could not lay a glove on.
However, after the first frame the Blackhawk bats were silenced by the opportunistic Blazers. Trail shored up its defense and got stellar pitching from freshman Madison Hathaway on its way to a run-rule victory.
The loss dropped the Blackhawks to 2-12 overall and 1-9 in the highly competitive CCC. The Trail Blazers continued to improve on their record as they are now 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
In the first inning, senior Paxton Scholl started things off right for the Blackhawks by blasting a double. Junior Bailey Johnson coaxed a walk and senior Taydem Elson got a single for a run batted in.
Senior Kinsie Blocher doubled that performance with a single and two runs knocked in. Junior Jolie Elson continued the cause with a single, and fellow classmate Makayla Coning ripped a single for the fourth run for the high flying Blackhawks of head coach Ray Lutz.
The home team scored one as sophomore Davlyn Werner got a walk and later scored on an error to cut the deficit to three at 4-1.
The second inning saw Scholl scorching another single and stealing a base to get things started for the Darke County squad. However, the next three batters went down with a strikeout and two pop outs to the shortstop.
In the bottom half of the canto, National Trail got a single from junior Kayleigh Minner, but she was stranded there on a force out by the ever alert defense for the third out of the frame.
Third inning theatrics saw junior Lindsay Johns and Coning both get walks for the Blackhawks, but they could advance no further against the Blazers phenom Madison Hathaway.
The bottom half of the inning saw the Blazers knot things up at four apiece. They sent eight batters to the plate and got two singles from junior Savanna Abner and sophomore Makena Laird to layout three runs for the Preble County nine.
Fourth inning firings for the Mississinawa Valley squad was highlighted only by a walk from freshman Taylor Collins. The three outs came via two strikeouts and a long blast to left field that was caught on the run.
The bottom part of the frame saw runs proliferating for the hard-charging Blazers as they knocked in five to break the game open. Abner got a walk, Laird ripped a triple, junior Gracie Jones dropped in a single to get things going for Darren Lee’s nine. Minner hit a spinner for a single to pop in the ninth total run for the energized Blazers.
The fifth inning was an unfortunate 1-2-3 with two strikeouts from Hathaway and a long blast by Blocher caught near the warning track to thwart a Blackhawk rally.
The bottom part of the frame almost bottomed out the Blackhawks due to the 10-run run rule after five. The Blazers blazed four straight hits for four runs to gather a baker’s dozen in runs for a 13-4 advantage going into the sixth frame. Gathering hits were Abner, Grimes Laird and Jones.
Six inning Blackhawk synergy was supplied by freshman Ellie Reichard, who coaxed a walk, and leadoff hitter Scholl, who got her third hit of the game with a rip to right for a single. However, the rally was stopped when a ball was caught on the track in dead center field for the third out.
National Trail needed only one run to invoke the 10-run rule and did this quickly with two quick hits. First came freshman Molly Skinner with a rip to right for her first hit and Anderson University commit Ariel Lee lacing a double to end the game with the 14th run.
“We started off good, but as a young team we need to be able to finish it out. We must be able to adjust to what the other team is doing each and every time out. I would like to mention our leadoff hitter Paxton Scholl, who was 3-for-4 and can shake things up when she gets on base,” second-year coach Lutz said.