West Holmes Softball

The rain, the catch and communication help key Lady Knights’ sweep of Quakers

Maddie Woods

A rainstorm and the play of a lifetime helped West Holmes sweep New Philadelphia on the softball field Saturday, April 15 at West Holmes High School.

A quickly improving Lady Knights team continued to roll, as it hammered out its fifth and sixth straight victories in winning 6-4 before pummeling the Quakers 12-2 in the nightcap.

 

Rain, rain go away?

It is not very often that any team wants to see rain invade a game and put a damper on play. For the Lady Knights, a simple rain delay became a blessing in a game in which they were not playing great softball.

Trailing 4-2 at the beginning of the bottom of the sixth inning, a mini-storm rolled in and dumped about five minutes worth of rain on the game. The precipitation sent both teams into the dugouts for a few minutes, and when the game resumed, the Lady Knights brought their bats out with them.

Olivia Ferguson got things going with a base hit, Becca Vales followed suit and Jazz Knapp, who had homered in her pervious at bat, smoked a two-run double to knot things up at 4-4. Samantha Rogers then stepped up to the plate and delivered a rescoring single that gave West Holmes its first lead of the game. An error allowed Knapp to score and set the table for an exciting finish.

“I’ve never in my life seen a rain delay help the team that was leading,” said Lady Knights assistant coach Steve Frank.

That proved true in this game, but only after one of the most memorable plays in West Holmes softball history took place in the top of the seventh.

 

Samantha saves the day

With two outs and a runner on for the Quakers in the final inning with West Holmes leading 6-4, New Phila’s Krista Delatore laced a long, high drive toward the fence in left-field that looked for all the world like it was going to tie the game at 6-6. What took place next is one of those things that every little ball player dreams of.

West Holmes left-fielder Samantha Rogers tracked the ball to the wall, reached up and pulled a game-tying home run back into play for a game-ending catch. You could almost say it was a walk-off robbery.

“I’ve never done anything like that in my life,” Rogers said. “Oh my gosh, I wasn’t sure I even had it in my glove. When I came down, my glove was over the fence, and I pulled it back over into play. I was tracking it the whole way, and I thought I was going to catch it until the very end because it just kept carrying. I had to look into my glove to make sure I even had it. It was a lot of excitement, just a thrill to be able to make a play like that to end a game.”

West Holmes head coach Jaime Chenevey said the comeback was in part that her team was willing to dictate momentum.

“We can’t let the other team dictate what our attitude and momentum is,” Chenevey said. “We started out the game well, but they kind of caught fire and took control of momentum. The inning before that rain delay we talked to the girls about how we gave them the momentum and now it was time to take it back by making some things happen for ourselves. I thought that rain delay allowed that to sink in. Our bats are good enough that we can put ourselves in position to win any game. We just need to get a little more consistent.”

The comeback made a winner of reliever Maddie Woods, while starter Morgan Balder looked solid in giving her team every chance to win.

After that thrilling conclusion, the two teams would dance again, and this time the Lady Knights left little doubt, and would need no final-play heroics in a 12-2 win. West Holmes would again get a walk-off play, this time a walk-off base hit off the bat of Ellie Patterson in the sixth inning, but it was not quite as dramatic thanks to a pair of monster offensive outbursts that helped West Holmes pull away quickly and decisively.

In a scoreless game in the second inning, Knapp stayed hot, pounding a single through the middle. Patterson singled, Samantha Rogers reached on an error scoring Knapp and Savannah Rogers drove home the game’s second run on a fielder’s choice. Then with two outs, Maddie Woods stroked a double to plate one run, Vales and Natalie Martin smashed run-scoring singles, Martin’s ricocheting off the bag at third.

Now up 5-0, West Holmes would go right back to work in the third to plate five more runs.

Brooke Workman walked, Knapp lined a single to right and after Patterson crushed a line-shot right at the center-fielder for out number one, Samantha Rogers was hit by a pitch and Quakers’ pitcher Kelci Kinsey then grabbed Savannah Rogers’ comebacker but fired it over the head of the first-baseman for a two-run error. Woods drilled a two-run single, and after Vales flew out to left, Martin hit an absolute bullet to center to make it 10-0.

New Philadelphia finally got to Ferguson in the fourth with run-scoring hits from Sarah Carroll and Katelin Swartzentruber, but Ferguson escaped further damage and then worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning.

In the sixth, Martin walked and Morgan Allen singled. A walk to Marris Hoffee loaded the bases, and after a wild pitch plated one run, Patterson hit a line drive into center to bring in the run that produced a 10-run victory.

Chenevey said that she was pleased with the way her team approached the games, and said that one aspect of the game her team continues to grow better at is communicating within the game situations that arise.

“We have worked hard at that the past five years, to get them talking about where the next play might go, and they are buying into it,” Chenevey said. “We have been doing well when we are ahead, but recently we’ve done a good job of communicating every pitch, no matter what the situation.”

The wins topped off a great week of softball for West Holmes that saw them continue the current six-game win streak.

“This was a really nice week for us,” Chenevey said. “Top to bottom we got production this week, and we got some really solid pitching today from Olivia in the second game and from Morgan and Maddie in the first game. We got really good efforts early on form out starters Morgan and Olivia, and they kind of tired out late, so that is something we will have to work on, but overall they did a nice job.”

For the day, Knapp went 4-of-6, scored three runs and drove in three. But it was a balanced attack all up and down the line-up that helped provide the offense that helped West Holmes improve to 9-4 on the campaign.

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