News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

April 13, 2013

West Vigo captures slugfest in softball

TERRE HAUTE — On a chilly, breezy evening that seemingly would have been perfect for pitching Friday, it was the hitters who eventually took over in high school softball at West Vigo.

And when either team’s catcher was at the plate, there was no safe place to stand on the field of play during a see-saw battle eventually won 10-8 by the Vikings.

West Vigo’s Brittany Voils had just one hit, but it was an eye-opening one — a two-strike rocket for a two-run double to center field in the bottom of the first inning that nearly tore a hole in the wire fence on the Wabash Valley’s tallest outfield barrier.

Voils added an additional RBI later, but her most impressive swing produced a foul ball that sent coach Cherish Easton diving for cover down the third-base line.  The impressive part? Voils had faked a bunt before pulling her bat back to swing, and Riverton Parke pitcher Kelly Combs is not a soft tosser by any means.

Panther catcher Elizabeth Bohannon had three hits for the day, two of which went in the scorebook with “THTH” designations — too hot to handle. Two different Viking infielders were fortunate enough to avoid injury against balls that reached them before they could react — and neither was playing in.

“Both teams hit the ball real well,” coach Joe Cox of the Panthers said after his own team had lashed 15 hits in  losing cause.

Cox’s team started its barrage late, however, and the Vikings led 3-0 after Voils’ double, her steal of third and Charity Lane’s grounder in the opening frame.

Riverton Parke started to figure out Viking starter Leah Morrison in the top of the fourth inning, however — two hard line drive outs, the second going for a double play after a double by Aubrey Washburn. And once the Panthers started hitting, they didn’t stop.

The visitors tied the score in the top of the fifth with six singles — Paige Yando, Combs and Jeannie Phillips getting an RBI each — before reliever Kayla Akers escaped a bases-loaded jam. The Vikings immediately retook the lead thanks to a single by Ciara McClain, a three-base throwing error on a bunt by Baylee Waters and an RBI grounder by Voils.

Back came the Panthers with four straight hits to start the top of the sixth. Sierra Schermann drove in the first run, and one out later Combs put her team back on top with a two-run double. A run-scoring grounder by Phillips made it 7-5 going into the bottom of the sixth.

Again Riverton Parke couldn’t hold the lead. The decisive five-run inning by the Vikings included three walks; hits by Kenzie Little, relief pitcher Hannah Harden and Waters — the latter two driving in runs; and, to Cox’s dismay, a pair of inexplicable overthrows that enabled three additional runs to score. Miranda Dressler had a two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh, but Harden and the Vikings survived.

“I’m proud of [the Panthers] for how they came back,” Cox said afterward, “but we took the lead and then just came unglued … we’ve got a lot of young, inexperienced players; we’re still learning.”

“The girls had strong offense today,” said Easton, who came out on the winning side against the Panthers for the first time since becoming West Vigo’s coach, “and we were more disciplined at the plate than we had been.”

“Give West Vigo credit. They came back tough too,” Cox added. “And they capitalized on our mistakes.”

n No initial sufficient — Each team had a starting infielder named Edington on Friday, and differentiating between the two in the boxscore is impossible. The first name of both cousins is Shelby.

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