Fairfield again gets the best of Peebles, 4-0 –
By Mark Carpenter –
It is just one hurdle that the Peebles lady Indians softball squad just can’t seem to jump. On Friday, April 6 the Lady Indians got another shot at their biggest nemesis in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference as the Fairfield Lady Lions came to town for an early season showdown. Peebles suffered just one league loss last season, to Fairfield, and they were looking to get over that hurdle and make an early season statement on Friday.
The Lady Lions were actually coming off of a Thursday loss to Eastern Brown, snapping their 33-game SHAC winning streak, while the Lady Indians had trounced Lynchburg the same day 16-0, getting a grand slam home run from senior first baseman Josie Myers. It seemed like a good time to get the Lady Lions while they were down, but sometimes a wounded animal is a dangerous one, and the Lady Lions proved that to be true, using three unearned runs, a long home run off the bat of Lauren Arnold, and a brilliant one-hit pitching performance from junior Kaiti White, to once again throttle the lady Indians, this time by a final score of 4-0.
“The game should have been 1-0, we just needed to make a couple of plays here and there,” said Peebles head coach Doug McFarland. “It was a tough adjustment to go from the speed of pitches we say yesterday and then jumping into Kaiti (White). I thought Madison threw the ball well, just left the one 3-2 pitch a little too much out over the plate.”
As she has been throughout her entire career, White was dominant in the center circle, allowing just the one hit, which was also the only Peebles base runner in seven innings. The Lady Indians came into the game at 4-0, having outscored their opponents by a combined score of 38-0, but two runs in the third and two in the fourth off Lady Indians’ hurler Madison Pierce proved to be the difference.
Both pitchers were on the mark in the first two innings, Pierce fanning the side in the top of the second while White struck out four in a pair of 1-2-3 frames. In the top of the third, the Lady Lions broke through, scoring a pair of unearned runs. Megan Gragg singled to lead off the inning and one out later, Lyndee Spargur was safe on a bunt hit. Another perfectly placed bunt by Carli Rieber loaded the bases for the dangerous left-handed swinging White, and her drive to the opposite field was misplayed, allowing both Gragg and Spargur to cross the plate with the first two runs of the contest.
Peebles went down in order in their half of the third and in the top of the fourth, the Lady Lions struck again. Arnold found a 3-2 pitch to her liking, squared it up, and rocketed it over the center field fence for a solo homer and a 3-0 Fairfield advantage. Molly Thackston followed with a base hit and was later sacrificed to second by Madison Fox. When Spargur reached on an error, Thackston scored to make it a four-run lead.
The only Peebles base runner of the game came in their half of the fourth, when center fielder Brycelyn Short singled to left. Short eventually reached third base with two away but was left stranded when cleanup hitter Kylie Sims flied out to left.
That was the only scoring chance that the home team had the rest of the game as White struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth, set down the side in order in the sixth, and got three ground outs in the bottom of the seventh to finish off the one-hit gem and give the Lady Lions a big early-season conference victory.
Pierce went all the way on the mound for the Lady Indians, allowing six hits, one earned run on the Arnold homer, and striking out four. At the plate, the Lady Indians were able to put the ball in play but it was one of those days where every connection seemed to be right at a Fairfield defender.
“We started to make contact,” said Coach McFarland. “Everything was right at somebody. We still feel like we are the top Division IV team in the district and we want to keep playing like that.”
“Fairfield has one league loss and we have one league loss, so we will keep working and stay after it. We have the opportunity to play them again later in the season.”
The Lady Indians got their chance to return to their winning ways on Monday when they hosted the West Union Lady Dragons, the beginning of a very busy week for Coach McFarland’s troops. On Tuesday, they traveled to Fayetteville, Wednesday it was off to Eastern Brown, Thursday on the road at Manchester, and then a weekend trip north to Akron to compete in the Akron Fire tournament.
002 200 0 —4
000 000 0 —0
Fairfield Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Spargur 4-1-1-0, Reiber 4-0-2-0, White 3-0-0-0, Hatton 3-0-0-0, Sanderson 3-0-0-0, Arnold 3-1-1-1, Thackston 3-1-1-0, Gragg 3-1-1-0, Fox 2-0-0-0, Team 28-4-6-1.
Extra-Base Hits: Arnold HR
Peebles Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Short 3-0-1-0, Pierce 3-0-0-0, Moore 3-0-0-0, Sims 3-0-0-0, Reed 2-0-0-0, Toller 2-0-0-0, Myers 2-0-0-0, Brown 2-0-0-0, Nichols 2-0-0-0, Team 22-0-1-0.
White- 7 IP (W) 1 H, 0 R, 9 K
Pierce- 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 4 K