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The anticipation for the start of the softball season had taken its toll on Ott Reed.
Reed, the coach of the Grant County girls’ softball team, hadn’t coached since the final game of the 2007 season. After a year away, he realized how much he missed the game.
But with the season opener against rival Williamstown looming, he had to prepare and settle his nerves.
“I left my job today about two hours early. They asked me where I was going and I said, ‘Pregame jitters,’” Reed said. “It’s always good to get that opener out of the way, especially if it’s Williamstown and a district game.”
The Lady Braves defeated Williamstown 10-3 behind their bats and the arm of pitcher Katelyn Roy.
“I never thought I would like starting the season with Williamstown, but I actually enjoyed it a lot,” Alesa Collinsworth said. “There were a lot of fans and it starts off the season with a bang.”
Grant County took an early lead in the first inning as Taryn Biddle was hit by a pitch and worked her way along the base path, stealing second and taking third and home on passed balls.
“Taryn is the unsung leader of the team,” Reed said. “She’s one hard out and does anything to get on base. She’s a natural leadoff hitter.”
The Lady Braves looked to add to their lead in the second inning when Katie Gregg ripped a triple with one out, but Amanda Goodrich kept Grant County from scoring by getting a strikeout and fly out to end the threat.
Biddle started the third inning with a single before scoring on a double by Jessica Smith, who was then driven in by Roy. Roy scored when Madison Goderwis dropped a single in short right field and two Williamstown players collided trying to make the catch.
Grant County held a 4-0 lead, but Williamstown answered with two runs in the top of the fourth.
Ashlee Holt drew a walk with one out and before Nicole Hendy hit a single to put runners on first and second. Ali Rich advanced the runners with a groundout.
With two outs, Kayla Schultz worked the count to load the bases before Hendy scored after a Emily Webster drew a walk. Hendy took home after a passed ball before the inning ended.
Grant County scored six more runs with timely hitting and were aided by Williamstown errors, while Williamstown scored again when Emma Harris doubled in the fifth inning and scored on a Goodrich single to make it 10-3.
“It feels good to start the season with a district win,” Biddle said. “I think we’re going to show that we’re going to be the first seed in the district this year. Ott got us ready for the season and we want to go far in regionals.”
Williamstown coach T.J. West wanted to win, but was glad to see his girls swing a little more freely and score a few runs.
“We played hard and didn’t give up,” West said. “It’s tough. We hit the ball with them, but they out hit us. The girls know they can hit and they need to get the mindset of hitting every game.”
“Anytime you play a rival, it’s a big game but it’s only the second game of the season and we’ve got a long way to go,” West said.
Lady Demons bounce back with win
After allowing 10 runs in each of their first two games, the Lady Demons defense settled in as Williamstown earned their first win of the season.
The Lady Demons defeated Notre Dame 4-2 on March 27 for their first win of the season.
Playing in the rain didn’t deter the Lady Demons as they came back from a 2-1 deficit to take the lead in the fifth inning.
“I wanted it for the girls because they’ve been playing hard,” West said. “They never give up. It was a big win.”
Goodrich pitched for Williamstown, striking out eight batters.