Peebles makes it back-to-back with win over Notre Dame –
Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
Make that two in a row in the Division IV sectional championship column for Coach Doug McFarland and his Peebles Lady Indians softball squad. Though it was not without its “edge of the seat” moments, the Lady Indians pulled off the 2017 sectional crown with a nail-biting 3-2 win on May 11 over the Lady Titans of Portsmouth Notre Dame.
Playing on their home field in the sectional championship game, the Lady Indians took a three-run advantage into the sixth inning, but had to hang on for dear life to record the one-run victory.
As they have done so many times this spring, the Peebles girls came out swinging early, getting two runs in the bottom of the first off of Notre Dame starter Maggie Whitman. Hailey Moore led off the frame with a walk, and moved all the way around to third when Aubrey McFarland reached on an error on the Lady Titans’ first baseman. Madison Pierce walked to fill the bases and a base hit by Jerilin Toller brought home Moore with the game’s first run and when the ball was booted by the center fielder, McFarland came across to make it 2-0.
The contest then became a pitcher’s duel with zeroes on the board for the next three full frames. Pierce and Toller both reached base again with one out in the bottom of the third, but were left stranded when Kylie Sims struck out and Christian Reed popped to short.
The Lady Titans put together their first serious threat in the top of the fifth when their first two runners reached but a line drive right back at the pitcher Pierce turned into a double play and an ensuing strikeout ended the inning with Notre Dame still scoreless.
Peebles added one to the lead in the bottom half of the fifth. With one out, McFarland was hit by a pitch and was replaced on the bases by pinch runner Kierra Stone. Stone wasn’t on the bases long as she raced around to score when Pierce smacked a two-bagger to left center that gave the home side a 3-0 lead.
That run turned out to be huge as the Lady Titans finally broke through against Pierce in the top of the sixth. Whitman led off with a single and one out later, Notre Dame’s Cassie Schaefer turned on a Pierce pitch and drove a low line drive that just cleared the left field fence for a two-run homer that quickly made it a one-run game. Not quite done yet, the Lady Titans followed up the homer with two more hits to put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but Pierce coaxed the next hitter into a pop-up to shortstop McFarland to end the inning.
With one more chance to keep their season alive, the Lady Titans threatened with two outs in the top of the seventh. An error and a single put two on base, but Pierce got Molly Hoover on a fly ball to center fielder Toller, who made the catch to seal the sectional title for the Lady Indians.
Notre Dame actually outhit the Lady Indians 8-5 in the game, but left eight runners on base in dropping the one-run decision. Peebles managed just five hits but that was enough to secure the second consecutive sectional crown.
Pierce went seven innings again for the win, giving up the eight hits, walking one and striking out four.
“Madison did a great job throwing the ball today,” said Coach McFarland. “I told her that she was in control of the game and she just had to trust herself and hit her spots. She came to play today and she wanted this one so that’s why I gave her the game ball.”
“We misplayed a couple of balls today which bothers me but we’ll get back to work and get better.”
The win sends the Lady Indians (17-3) on to the Division IV District semi-finals at Minford High School, where they will battle the Trimble Lady Tomcats on Thursday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m. A win there catapults Peebles into the district championship and a likely showdown with the one-beaten Fairfield Lady Lions with a trip to the regional tournament on the line.
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Notre Dame Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): M. Whitman 4-1-3-0, Hoover 4-0-0-0, C. Schaefer 3-1-1-2, Hodsen 3-0-1-0, H. Schaefer 3-0-1-0, S. Whitman 3-0-1-0, Glockner 3-0-1-0, Ball 2-0-0-0, Webb 3-0-0-0, Team 28-2-8-2.
Extra-Base Hits: Hodsen 2B, C. Schaefer HR
Peebles Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Moore 2-1-0-0, McFarland 2-1-0-0, Pierce 2-0-2-1, Toller 3-0-2-1, Sims 3-0-1-0, Reed 3-0-0-0, Myers 2-0-0-0, Brown 2-0-0-0, Nichols 3-0-0-0, Stone 0-1-0-0, Team 22-3-5-2.
Extra-Base Hits: Pierce 2B (2), Toller 2B
Notre Dame Pitching: Whitman (L) 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
Peebles Pitching: Pierce (W) 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K