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Taryn Biddle stepped to the plate against Williamstown and the Grant County High School softball team never looked back.
The Lady Braves took an early lead and continued to build on it for an 11-5 win on April 9. With the win, Grant County swept the season series.
“I’ve never had a hitting team like this,” Grant County coach Ott Reed said. “We decided we haven’t been aggressive enough. We don’t have a lot of speed, but when they start running the bases intelligently, it helps to be aggressive.”
Biddle drew a walk to start the game and Jessica Smith was hit by a pitch during her at bat. Both runners advanced on the base paths on pitches in the dirt, as Biddle scored to put Grant County on the board.
Alesa Collinsworth was also hit by a pitch and Katelyn Roy walked to load the bases. Lady Demon Amber Vance helped her team by turning a double play, catching a popout at second and picking Smith off of third base with a quick throw.
The Lady Demons looked to get out of the inning with only one run on the board, but a triple by Morgan McClure drove in two runs. Sara Edwards followed with a double down the third base line to tack on another run and put Grant County ahead 4-0 after the first inning.
Roy allowed two hitters to get on base in the bottom of the first inning, before getting out of trouble with two strikeouts to end the inning.
Grant County continued to add to their lead as Collinsworth drove in two runs with a double. Katie Gregg laid down a bunt and then hustled down the line to beat the throw to first, allowing a run to cross the plate. Edwards struck out, but when the ball hit the backstop, she sprinted down the line and another run scored.
The Lady Demons regained a little confidence in the bottom of the second inning, scoring three runs as Emma Harris drove in two runs with a single. Harris then stole second, which allowed Tori Wilhoit to steal home on the throw to second. After the second inning, Grant County led 8-3.
Grant County added to their lead in the third inning as Smith doubled and Collinsworth walked. On her way to first base, Collinsworth heard Reed yell “Wheels!” and she took off for second base, forcing a hurried throw by Williamstown. The ball went into the outfield, allowing Smith to score.
In the bottom of the third inning, Ali Rich got on base with a single and Kayla Schultz drew a walk. Ashlee Holt came to the plate and hit a shot to deep leftfield, driving in Rich. In a turning point of the game, Schultz and Holt were both thrown out at the plate as the Lady Demons tried to be aggressive, but Grant County made two perfect throws to get the outs and ending Williamstown’s chance to cut into the lead.
“They had to make the plays and they did,” Williamstown coach T.J. West said. “You’ve got to give credit where credit is due and they made two nice plays.”
Gregg scored another run in the fourth inning before Vance ended the inning with a diving snag. The Lady Braves faked a bunt before slapping a ground ball towards the gap where Vance had been, but she recovered quickly enough to snatch the ball off the ground and make the throw to first for the out.
Williamstown had another opportunity to score in the bottom of the fifth inning, but with the bases loaded, Roy was able to induce a popout and a groundout to end the threat.
Lady Demon Amanda Goodrich drove in a run in the bottom of the sixth with a single, but Grant County answered in the top of the seventh as Erica Stith scored on a passed ball for the final score of 11-5.
“These are district games,” Reed said. “To get a sweep anytime against Williamstown is great. We weren’t ready last week at Somerset, but we came back ready this week.”
“We worked hard for the win,” Gregg said. “It’s a big district game. It feels good to be 2-0 in the district. After Somerset, we felt like maybe we weren’t as good as we thought we were. This helped us rebuild our confidence.”
The Lady Braves were without junior Madison Goderwis, who broke her ankle and is out for the rest of the season. The girls have dedicated this season to Goderwis.
For Williamstown, West is focusing on the positive. The Lady Demons were able to hit and, aside from the shaky start, competed with Grant County.
“It’s a L with a W on it for me,” West said. “They know they can hit and it’s just a matter of doing it. We faced a district rival and had one bad inning, but we played with them. For every bad thing that happened, we had two good things happen. It’s a loss, but I’m proud of my girls. Amber doesn’t know how good she can be. She just makes plays.”
“I thought that we played well and we definitely hit the ball better,” Vance said. “If it wasn’t for the first inning, we would have been in it. We need to go out and swing our bats. We proved we can hit the ball, so we need to swing more.”
Next up for the Williamstown Lady Demons:
• April 17 at home against Beechwood
• April 17 against Trimble County
• April 18 TBA
• April 21 at Walton-Verona