West Holmes needed to record a signature in in Ohio Cardinal Conference play. The Madison Rams were hoping to hang around at the top of the standing in league play.
When the Lady Knights traveled to Mansfield Friday, April 28 to face the Rams, it was Mansfield Madison that would keep its hopes of a league title alive with a 7-2 that saw West Holmes threaten plenty but when it came right down to it, West Holmes couldn’t come up with the big hits when it needed them the most.
“We had runners on in nearly every inning but just couldn’t capitalize,” said West Holmes coach Jaime Chenevey.
Mackenzie Mullens of Madison and West Holmes starter Olivia Ferguson both got through the first with ease, and West Holmes squandered some golden opportunities in the second when it failed to plate a run.
Jazz Knapp got on via an error to begin the inning, was sacrificed to second but was nailed at third on Maris Hoffee’s single. Samantha Rogers walked and Becca Vales rifled a single to center, but Hoffee was cut down at home plate to end the inning.
“We have left a lot of runners on base this year, and we have to get better at that,” Chenevey said of her team.
Despite the Lady Knights having produced ton of runs on offense this year, their inability to bring in runs in several key games have cost them. It cost them earlier this year in a loss to the Rams, and it hurt them in this one too.
Madison didn’t waste its opportunities in the bottom if the inning, scoring three times off of Ferguson. Mullin’s double and Alexis Crider’s huge two-run single were the key moments as the Rams forged a lead.
Again in the third West Holmes had a chance to produce a big inning. The Lady Knights got closer with a run. Savannah Rogers singled and moved to third before scoring, but after Callie Cline reached on an error and Natalie Martin singled her to third to score Savannah Rogers, Knapp rapped into a double play to end the threat.
Ferguson settled in through the third and fourth innings without giving up a run. In the fourth, Morgan Allen doubled and moved to third, and after Becca Vales drew a walk, again West Holmes couldn’t get the big at bat and failed to score.
Madison would strike for four more in the fifth to put the game out of reach, and Ferguson would not get an out, giving up two lead-off bunt singles to begin the inning, which brought Morganne Balder on to the mound. Leah Boggs singled to load the bases, then a walk and another bunt single was followed by two West Holmes errors that opened the floodgates. Now trailing 7-1, West Holmes was running out of real estate to make a comeback.
Allen was hit by a pitch to start the sixth, but another double play stumped that rally. Balder cruised through the bottom of the inning, and the Lady Knights had one last gasp in the seventh.
With one out, Savannah Rogers singled, and came around to score on Cline’s two-out double. But Mullins got Martin to ground out to second to end the game with the lady Knights ruing the many lost opportunities it squandered.
Callie Cline was 2-4 with a double and an RBI, Savannah Rogers was 2-3, Natalie Martin was 1-4 with an RBI, and Morgan Allen added a double.
Although Mt. Vernon is currently a perfect 9-0 on the season in league play, Madison is within striking distance at 6-2, a half-game behind Clear Fork, who is 7-2. West Holmes is now 12-8 overall and 5-5 in the OCC.