Lady Indians drop Manchester in semis, fall to Fairfield in finals –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Though the game was played on a Wednesday night in Hillsboro, the combatants were familiar to each other as the Peebles Lady Indians faced off with the Manchester Lady Hounds in the semi-finals of the Hillsboro Girls AA League Tournament. Both teams have been playing in the Hillsboro AA League all summer and to get to the semis, the Lady Hounds knocked off teams from Wilmington and Lynchburg, while the Lady Indians rolled past Greenfield 14-0 in the quarterfinals after getting a first round tourney bye.
The Lady Hounds were improbable participants in the semi-finals as the number 11 seed in the 14-team tournament and the semi match up saw Manchester send freshman-to-be Madison Jones to the mound to face sophomore-to-be McKenzie Swango who was the Peebles starting pitcher.
Manchester lead off hitter Katie Sandlin drew a walk to open the game and made her way around to third base, but was left stranded, and the lady Indians took advantage by plating one one in their half of the inning when Jerilin Toller led off with a walk and eventually came around to score.
Manchester got a lead off single up the middle by Miranda Schiltz to start the top of the second, but she was also left stranded as Swango fanned the next three hitters. Jones returned the favor in the bottom of the second as she struck out Sierra Stone, Josie Myers, and Johna Dunigan in succession.
The game remained a tight one-run affair with both pitchers firing bullets until the bottom of the fourth when the Lady Indians struck again. After the first two hitters were retired, Kylie Sims banged a triple down the right field line and came home on a wild pitch and Stone drew a walk and came across on an RBI single by Myers that made it 3-0.
Swango continued to roll on the pitcher’s mound, at one point striking out eight of 11 batters, allowing just a base hit to Karley Young in the top of the fourth, and retiring eight in a row to close out the game.
The Lady Indians got more than enough insurance for Swango in their half of the fifth, scoring three times. With one out, Hope Brown singled and made it all the way around to third base on some Manchester misplays in the field. Kiera Stone popped to short for the second out, but consecutive base hits by Toller, Christian Reed, and Swango produced the trio of runs that gave Peebles a six-run advantage.
Swango set down the Lady Hounds in the top of the sixth on a ground out, strikeout (her 11th of the game), and a pop out to seal the deal and send the Lady Indians into the tourney final the next night.
On Thursday, July 21, the Lady Indians faced a 2016 nemesis in the championship game, the Fairfield Lady Lions, a team that gave Peebles its only Southern Hills Athletic Conference last spring and a team that advanced to the Division IV regional tournament. With Swango again on the mound for the Lady Indians, the going was a little tougher against the Lady Lions, who had their ace, Katie White, on the mound. White silenced the Peebles bats, allowing just four hits as Fairfield took the 9-0 title game victory.
The Lady Lions struck early, getting one run in the bottom of the first, then tacking on three more in the bottom of the second, while the Lady Indians were still looking for their first hit, as White mowed down 11 of the first 12 batters she faced.
Fairfield added two more in the bottom of the third to make it 6-0, And then still swinging the hot bats just as they did all spring in the SHAC, the Lady Lions scored three more in the bottom of the fourth to take a commanding 9-0 advantage,
The Lady Indians finally broke the ice when Swango led off the top of the fifth with a single, the first Peebles hit of the game. One out later, Sims also singled but both were left stranded when Kiera Stone flied to right and Myers went down swinging.
Peebles base hits from Brown and Sierra Stone in the top of the sixth but neither advacned any further as White wiggled out of trouble to preserve her shutout and the tournament championship for the Lady Lions by the final count of 9-0.