By Mark Carpenter – People’s Defender
After six consecutive losses against some stiff competition to begin their 2016 season, the est Union Lady Dragons varsity softball squad finally broke the ice and picked up their first win on Tuesday, April 5 as they played host to county rival Manchester in a Southern Hills Athletic Conference contest. The Lady Dragons took advantage of a flurry of errors in the field by the Lady Hounds, jumping to an early 5-0 lead and never looking back en route to a 13-3 win in six innings.
After West Union starter Kristen Grooms held the visitors scoreless in their first two at-bats, her offense gave her all the support she would need, scoring twice in the bottom of the first and three times in the bottom of the second off of Manchester starter Jai-lynn Hodge.
The Lady Hounds pushed across a run off of Grooms in the top of the third but the home team answered with two more in their half of the fourth to go up 7-1. After Manchester got two in the top of the fifth, the Lady Dragons took advantage of some sloppy defense to plate four in the bottom of the fifth and then with two more in the bottom of the sixth, enforced the OHSAA run-rule and claimed their first win of the spring by the final count of 13-3.
Grooms went the distance on the mound, allowing just four hits for the win, while Hodge, though let down by her defense at times to the tune of eight unearned runs, took the loss as the Lady Hounds fell to 0-4 on the year.
“Kristen Grooms pitched a good game and deserves a lot of credit,” said Manchester head coach John Kennedy. “She kept the ball down and held us in check very well. The big difference in the game was that we committed nine errors while they made the plays that had to be made.”
“That has been our biggest downfall so far this season. Our defense has been very poor to say the least.”
Since that Tuesday tilt, both teams suffered through a week of cancellations because of the unusually cold and wet spring weather that the area is experiencing.
Weather permitting, the Lady Dragons were scheduled to be back in action on Monday, April 11, hosting Eastern Brown in SHAC action and then on the road to face the red-hot Peebles Lady Indians on Tuesday afternoon. West Union will also stay in-county and in-conference on Thursday, April 14 when they travel to North Adams.
Still searching for win number one, the Lady Hounds were slated to battle Whiteoak on Monday in SHAC play, before hosting Fayetteville on Thursday and Peebles on Friday.
MHS 001 020 —3
WUHS 230 242 —13
MHS Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Johnson 2-0-0-2, Campbell 3-0-1-1, Taylor 2-0-0-0, Lucas 3-1-2-0, Schiltz 3-0-1-0, Grooms 2-2-0-0. McFarland 1-0-0-0, K. Young 2-0-0-0, White 3-0-0-0, Sandlin 2-0-0-0, Team 23-3-4-3.
Extra-Base Hits: Campbell 2B, Lucas 2B
MHS Pitching: Hodge (L) 5.2 IP, 5 H, 13 R, 5 ER, 9 BB, 3 K
**No West Union game stats were available at press time.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or at email@example.com