Whiteoak ekes out 5-3 victory to move on –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
The 2016 Southern Ohio Youth Softball League saw its Sub-D girls tournament come to Ripley last week and one of the semi-final match ups in the loser’s bracket saw the Devilish Darlings from North Adams battling Whiteoak for the right to advance to the final game of the loser’s bracket and then a chance to move on to the tournament’s championship round.
The rules of Sub-D softball can be a bit complicated for the first time observer, especially those rules involving the pitching. A coach from each team with pitch the first and third innings of the four inning contests, while each team will have its own pitcher throw the second and fourth frames. When the coach is pitching, there are no walks and only swinging strikes are called with a maximum of seven pitches per batter, which means either a strikeout or a ball put in play.
The rules change when a player goes to the rubber. One a pitcher reaches a four-ball count on the batter (again, no walks), a coach will enter to pitch the remaining strikes that a batter has left. With the coach on the mound, there is a maximum of three pitches with only swinging strikes called. There are a number of rules specific to Sub-D softball, but after that it is all hitting, fielding, and throwing.
In the June 29 match up, the Devilish Darlings picked up one run in the top of the first, but then Whiteoak added two in their half of the inning. North Adams had back to back singles to open the top of the second, but left both runners stranded.
In the bottom of the second, Whiteoak got singles from their first three hitters to load the bases and after a strikeout, a batter hit by a pitch forced home a run, and that was followed by an RBI base hit. Another batter hit by pitcher forced home the third run of the inning and Whiteoak had a 5-1 advantage.
North Adams rallied back in the top of the third. With one out, three consecutive base hits filled the bases and then a ground ball turned into a fielder’s choice at second base but also allowed two runners to cross the plate to cut the Whiteoak lead to 5-3.
After a momentary delay while an Air Care helicopter made a stop on the soccer field above the softball diamonds, action resumed and Whiteoak went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third, giving North Adams one more shot in the top of the fourth.
The Devilish Darlings began their at-bat in promising fashion as their first two hitters reached base safely, but three strikeouts followed and the game ended with Whiteaok advancing with the two-run victory.
Whiteoak was back in action the very next night, facing West Union in the final game of the loser’s bracket and it was West union coming out on top in a close one by a final score of 10-9, setting up a July 2 championship battle between West Union and Lynchburg #1.