The Lady Knights of West Holmes got some serious validation with a huge pair of wins on the softball field that should give them plenty of confidence moving forward.
The Lady Knights hosted state power Hillsdale for a double-header Saturday, April 5 at West Holmes High School, and came away with a pair of big wins.
The first, a 9-8 victory in eight innings, wasn’t easy, as Hillsdale showed why they are such a tough customer.
West Holmes pitcher Stormi Morris looked to be cruising, and her West Holmes teammates gave her plenty of cushion in the early going with their bats.
West Holmes plated a run without getting a hit in the first. In the second, Makayla Patterson singled and came around to score on Cassie AThomas’ single to make it 2-0. In the third, Hannah Miller doubled and Morris reached on a fielder’s choice when Miller scampered home to beat a throw to the plate. Morgan Wagers then singled and after a sacrifice bunt, Makayla Patterson came through with a big two-out hit to make it 4-0. Hillsdale scored an unearned run in the third, then West Holmes extended its lead to 7-1 when Shoemaker had an rbi single and Wagers crushed a 2-run double.
Morris seemed in complete control, but that as about to change in the top of the sixth inning.
Hillsdale recorded four runs on three hits, a walk and an error, and suddenly it was 7-5. Shoemaker came through again, this time driving in Thomas with a single, in what proved to be a huge run.
Now riding high, the Falcons came in for the top of the seventh and rallied for three more to tie the game at 8-8. Three singles and a walk made it 8-6, then West Holmes allowed two runs in on consecutive errors by Patterson at third and Thomas at short, and it was 8-8 with the bases loaded.
Morris would eradicate herself from more trouble with a strikeout, but now it was a new game.
“We jumped out to a big early lead and they chipped away to tie it,” said West Holmes coach Jamie Martin. It would have been easy to fold, with Hillsdale holding all of the momentum. It wouldn’t last for the Falcons. “We hung in there and got the job done,” said Martin.
That job included Morris going three-u,three-down in the eighth, and the offensive portion was accomplished via small ball, with both Alys Shoemaker and Hannah Miller reaching via bunt singles. A walk to Morris loaded the bases before Wagers knocked a long fly ball to right-center to plate Shoemaker with the game-winner.
Shoemaker led the way for West Holmes, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and Miller, Wagers and Makayla Patterson all had two hits apiece for the Lady Knights.
“Hannah also picked off a girl at second from behind the plate,”added martin of her junior catcher’s all-around performance.
While the bats were ringing, Martin said the one negative in the contest was the Lady Knights defensive effort in the field, an effort which made Morris throw far too many pitches, the team get too many outs an almost allowed Hilldale to sneak a win.
“We fought through six errors, but were able to come out with the W,” said Martin.
Game 2 saw Hillsdale try to rekindle that magic they had found late in game one.
It looked like they might have something going, plating a pair of runs off of Hailey Martin to begin the game.
Then west Holmes got its crack at hitting.
A five-run barrage in the first inning led to a 20-6 victory in five innings, in a contest which saw the Lady Knights ignite for 14 hits and 20 runs in just four offensive innings.
Morris and Wagers both collected rbi singles in the first, and while the Falcons tacked on single tallied in the next four innings, it would pale in comparison to what the lady Knights were doing at the plate.
In an inning where they “struggled” to only score twice, West Holmes moved ahead 7-3 in the second on a Miller rbi double and Morris’ rbi single.
Four more runs crossed home plate in the third, courtesy of a two-run double by Shoemaker and a two-run single by Miller.
Then the fun really picked up for west Holmes in the fourth, when a whopping 10 runners trotted across home plate.
Oddly enough, West Holmes collected just four hits in the 10-run inning, with the Falcons committing several errors and walking four.
“We came out with a bang in game two,” said Martin. “I challenged the girls not to let them back in this time.”
Martin’s players responded to that challenge in a big way.
Miller was 3-for-3 with four rbi and Morris, Wagers, Martin, and Patterson all had two hits, with Patterson driving in four.
On the mound, Martin scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out six to earn the win. West Holmes managed to field the ball better, but still had four errors, leading to three unearned runs.
“Hailey did a nice job on the mound and our bats made up for our four errors,” said Martin.
The two wins move the Lady Knights to 4-1 on the season, a nice start for a team full of high hope this spring. That the two wins came against Hillsdale (3-2), a perennial state power, was a big confidence booster for Martin’s club.
“Any time you can take two from Hillsdale is a big day,” said Martin. “They are one of the most storied programs in the state, and putting two in the win column should be a big confidence booster for us. I am very proud of my team.”