By Mark Carpenter –
After winning their last seven regular season games to forge their way into a three-way tie for first place in the small school division of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, the Peebles Lady Indians softball squad began their postseason play on May 10, hosting the New Boston Lady Tigers in a Division IV sectional championship game. The Lady Tigers had earned their trip to Adams County with a win over Whiteoak, but this trip turned out to be their last of the season.
Behind yet another pitching gem from Madison Pierce and a big blow off the bat of Hailey Moore, the Lady Indians captured a sectional crown in a big way, blanking New Boston by a final score of 9-0. Pierce was totally dominant in the center circle, throwing the fourth perfect game of her career and striking out 19 Lady Tigers, while Moore blasted a solo homer in the fourth inning, leading Peebles back to the district tournament.
“I am so happy for the girls on this win,” said Peebles head coach Doug McFarland. “We followed our game plan and made good decisions on the bases. I think the thing that changed the game was when we went to small ball in the second inning. It really pressured their defense into making mistakes and bad decisions throwing the ball.”
“Of course, Madison also did her part which made it real easy for our defense. She made a statement today about her ability to pitch, she worked the zone well, changed speeds, and hit her spots. Shout outs also to Hailey Moore with a big home run and Jerilin Toller with two perfectly executed sacrifice bunts.”
The game was scoreless for the first inning and a half, but in the bottom of the second, the Lady Indians got all the runs that Pierce would need. Christian Reed led off the frame with a walk and came all the way around to third on a Toller sacrifice. A bunt single by Josie Myers brought Reed home with the game’s first run, followed by Matti Nichols reaching on an error. A base hit by Brycelyn Short drove Myers across to make it 2-0, and after a walk to Moore, a Pierce sacrifice fly scored Nichols with the third run. A New Boston error scored Short to give Peebles a four-run advantage.
While Pierce continued to blow away Lady Tiger hitters, her offense added to the lead in their half of the fourth. After the first two batters were retired, Moore found an 0-1 pitch to her liking and drilled it out of the park to make it 5-0 Peebles, but the Lady Indians weren’t finished. They added one more to their lead when Pierce singled, stole second, and came across on a Kylie Sims base hit.
Just for good measure, the home team tacked on three more in the bottom of the fifth. Reed led off with a single and later scored on another New Boston fielding miscue, McKenzie Swango drew a walk, Short reached on an error, and the final two runs of the day came home on a single to left by Moore.
Now with a commanding cushion, Pierce made quick work of the Lady Tigers in their final two at-bats, striking out the final six hitters, four looking and two swinging to seal the deal on a nine-run win and sectional title for the Lady Indians.
“I was really proud of Madison’s pitching performance, but like I told the girls, we are a team of 12 and it takes a team to make thing happen,” said Coach McFarland. “I am super proud of all of them for their work effort in planning for New Boston.”
The Lady Indians banged out eight hits in the win and took full advantage of five New Boston errors in posting the “W”. Moore had two hits and drove in three, while Reed had two hits and scored twice for the winners.
The win moves number three seed Peebles to the Division IV district semi-finals as they were slated to battle number two seeded Symmes Valley on Tuesday, May 15 on the softball field at the University of Rio Grande, with both squads looking for a May 19 berth in the district title game. Look for a full report on the Symmes Valley game in the upcoming weekend edition of The People’s Defender.
“Symmes Valley is always a solid team and very well-coached,” says Coach McFarland. “We are looking forward to Tuesday at Rio Grande.”
New Boston Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Buckley 3-0-0-0, Easter 3-0-0-0, Hickman 3-0-0-0, Helphinstine 3-0-0-0, S. Oiler 2-0-0-0, L. Oiler 2-0-0-0, Rawlins 2-0-0-0, Hamilton 2-0-0-0, Stone 2-0-0-0, Team 21-0-0-0.
Peebles Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Short 3-1-1-1, Moore 3-1-2-3, Pierce 4-1-1-1, Sims 3-0-1-1, Lloyd 4-0-0-0, Reed 3-2-2-0, Toller 1-0-0-0, Myers 2-1-1-, Nichols 3-2-0-0, Swango 0-1-0-0, Team 26-9-8-7.
Extra-Base Hits: Moore HR
New Boston Pitching:
Hickman (L) 6 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 2 K
Pierce (W) 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 19 K