West Bladen’s Lady Knights pounded out 16 hits and pulled away in the middle innings for an 11-6 softball victory over visiting Midway Friday night in the Four County Conference opener for both teams.
The visiting Lady Raiders shocked West Bladen early with a bunt-and-run game. A bobbled bunt, a fielder’s choice, a dropped throw and a clean single produced 3 unearned runs for Midway in the top of the first inning.
West Bladen’s bats answered quickly in the bottom of the inning. Senior Morgan Sweeney laced a one-out single to center-field, and senior Nicole Wyatt ripped a single to left field. Sophomore Laikyn Pait lined a single to left field that drove in Sweeney with the first Lady Knight run.
Sophomore catcher Alanna Ludlum blasted a double deep into the left field corner to drive in Alison Thompson, the courtesy runner for Wyatt, and trim the Midway lead to 3-2.
Sophomore Kassidy Anderson lined a double just inside the left-field line to drive in Pait and Ludlum’s courtesy runner, Abby Dawson, with 2 more runs that vaulted West Bladen in front 4-3.
Two more Midway bunts and a West error produced another Lady Raider run and tied the game 4-4 in the top of the second.
Speedy senior Amber Bills reached base on a fielder’s choice in the home half of the second, and raced home when Sweeney walloped a double over the left-fielder’s head for a 5-4 West lead.
Samantha Bullins slapped an infield single to the right side, advanced on an error and scored on a sacrifice bunt to tie the game 5-5 in the Midway half of the fourth inning.
Midway’s bunting game played a key role in producing the first five Lady Raider runs. “It was our first time experiencing that kind of bunting against us,” said West Bladen Coach Pam Stephens. “Hopefully we learned something from it.”
The Lady Knights began to take control in the bottom of the fourth. Bills beat out an infield hit, and Sweeney yanked a single into left field.
Wyatt then drilled a shot to left field that the Lady Raider fielder dove for but didn’t catch. The ball went to the fence for a triple that scored Bills and Sweeney. Pait crushed a single to left that plated Thompson, the courtesy runner, and put West ahead 8-5.
Midway’s lead-off runner reached second base on an error in the top of the fifth, but Wyatt fired to Pait at third base to stop a delayed steal attempt, and the next two batters were retired quickly.
The Lady Knight offense piled on 3 more runs in the bottom of the fifth after two were out. Freshman Anna Moser started the rally with a single to right field, and sophomore Jenna Dove reached base on an infield hit.
A walk to Bills loaded the bases, and Sweeney rapped a single through the middle that scored Moser. Wyatt belted a single just inside the right-field line that drove in Dove and Bills and stretched the West lead to 11-5.
Midway tacked on a run in the top of the sixth on an error, a single and a wild pitch.
Sweeney batted a perfect 4-4 with a double and 2 runs-batted-in to lead the Lady Knight offense. Wyatt finished 3-4 at the plate with a triple and 4 rbi’s. Pait drove in 2 runs with her two hits.
“My daddy always told me that if you make an error, you need to make up for it with the bat,” said Coach Stephens. “We hit the ball good. The top of the line-up came through; everybody hit the ball.”
Moser batted 2-4, and Anderson drove in 2 runs with a double. Ludlum had a double and an rbi. Bills, Schultz and Dove added one hit each, and Bills and Sweeney scored 3 runs each for the winners.
Wyatt went the distance in the circle to pick up her third win of the season. The senior right-hander struck out 5 and allowed 6 hits, but no earned runs as the Lady Knights were plagued by 5 errors.
West Bladen improves to 3-0 with the victory and will host East Columbus Monday at 5 p.m.Share: