Senior Night can sometimes throw teams into a bit of a weird funk, since the line-up changes, emotions are on high and things aren’t quite normal.
For the West Holmes Lady Knights softball team, Senior Night against Lexington Tuesday, May 2 at West Holmes High School was one such occasion. While head coach Jaime Chenevey said it was satisfying and exciting to get to work all of her seniors into the starting line-up, it took West Holmes a couple innings to get the fire burning. Once it finally did, it rode to a convincing 10-1 victory that saw them improve to 13-8 overall and 6-5 in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, while Lex fell to 3-11 overall and 3-8 in the OCC.
“We did some things differently to honor our seniors tonight for their commitment to the program,” Chenevey said. “Fortunately, we sent them out in style tonight. It was fun to get them in there together. Courtney Starr had a big play in the first inning doing that squeeze bunt and getting it down. But as a whole, it did take us some time to adjust, but once we did we did a nice job of putting some good swings on.”
Lex nicked West Holmes starter Morganne Balder for its lone run in the top of the first when Kirsten Allen doubled to lead the game off and came around to score on a Lyndsey Winters single.
West Holmes evened the slate in the bottom when Maddie Woods tripled to lead things off and scored on Starr’s perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt. Balder then dug in and didn’t allow more than a single base runner in any of the final six innings, and waited for her offense to get going.
Maddie Woods delivers a 2-run single. Callie Cline follows with RBI single. Lady Knights lead Lex 8-1 in fifth pic.twitter.com/c3H02doWHF
— OhioSportsTicket.com (@OhioTicket) May 2, 2017
The Lady Knights pushed out to a 2-1 lead in the second inning when Samantha Rogers singled, Becca Vales laid down a perfect bunt for a single and Woods walked. A balk then allowed Rogers to take a leisurely stroll home.
The Lady Knights stranded a pair of runners in scoring position n the third, but the flood gates were about to open. Three runs scored in the fourth, with Savannah Rogers starting things with a single. Woods reached on a bloop single over the first baseman, and Callie Cline reached on an error, allowing Savannah Rogers to score. Jazz Knapp and Brooke Workman added RBI singles.
West Holmes kept up the pressure by scoring three more in the fifth inning. Vales walked and stole second, and Savannah Rogers struck out but reach second when the third strike eluded the catcher. Woods made Lex pay with a two-run shot to center, before stealing second and scoring on Cline’s RBI single.
The Lady Knights added two insurance runs in the sixth inning. Savannah Rogers ripped a triple to the wall in left-center and scored on Wood’s sacrifice fly. Cline then hammered another single and galloped home on Natalie Martin’s triple to center.
“We were a little slow to adjust and start taking the ball up the middle and to the opposite field tonight,” Chenevey said. “Mid-way through the game we let pitches get a little deeper and started to hit it the other way. You can’t always hit the ball where you want to hit it.”
Chenevey said it was a nice game to celebrate a senior crew that has given a lot to the program, and to see them play together was heart-warming.
Workman, who has been a huge part of this year’s success, said the senior class was excited to step on to the field together.
“It was emotional,” Workman said. “We had a lot of fun and it was nice to be able to share what this program has meant to us. It has been amazing to grow from our freshman tour senior year, and it has been a pleasure to see how we have transformed into who we are today. I think we have put a lot of time in, but the coaches have put a ton of time in to working with us, so they are as big a part of our success as anyone. This has been a really fun season and while it has been a learning curve, this team can really hit the ball. It has been a real blessing being a part of it.”
Balder went the distance for West Holmes, allowing one run by scattering four hits. He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter in what was perhaps her best effort of the season. Allen took the loss for Lex, giving up 10 runs, nine of them earned, on 14 hits, walking five while striking out six.
At the dish, Woods went 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBI. Savannah Rogers recorded two hits including her triple, scoring three runs and swiping a pair of bags. Cline added two hits and scoring twice and driving home a run.