Softball rivalry set for some PING!

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By Matt Birkholtz

Mark it on your calendars.

The first of a two-game series between the Grant County Lady Braves and the Williamstown Lady Demons will be April 7 at Grant County High School. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.

Last season, the Lady Braves swept the series, not allowing a run in either game.

This season, Lady Demons’ senior shortstop Tori Wilhoit hopes for a different outcome.

“I am tired of them sweeping us, so my goal is to beat them both times and end my last year sweeping them,” she said.

In order to do that, Lady Demons coach T. J. West says the team needs to start hitting the ball better.

“We are just not hitting the ball,” he said. “If we do, it is right at someone.”

Defensively, West says the team has done well and may be the best he has coached at Williamstown.

“We just need to put both sides of the game together,” he said.

So far, the Lady Demons have a record of 2-2, but with the lack of offense, they have lost some close games they could have won, West said.

“It seems like we get all of our hits and runs in one inning,” Wilhoit said. “We need to be continually hitting throughout the game and keep the other team from getting runs.”

West looks to both Wilhoit and senior first baseman Ali Rich to provide the leadership on the field.

Rich sees her role as leading by example and Wilhoit to be the vocal leader.

“I think attitude is a big thing,” Rich said. “A lot of them get down on themselves and Tori helps by being vocal and we try to keep everyone’s attitudes up.”

For Grant County, they will look to rebound after losing four games over the weekend in two tournaments in Tennessee.

“You hope it is a learning experience for the girls,” Lady Braves coach Ott Reed said. “You want them to learn from their mistakes.”

Reed said they played some of the toughest teams in the state, including Riverdale (Tenn.), which is ranked 18th in the nation.

“In that game, our inexperience showed,” Reed said. “We were not able to make many errors because we were out of it after the first inning.”

Out of the four games on the trip, Reed said the game against Wilson Central was the most winnable game, but the Lady Braves were only able to muster up one infield single in the game, losing 8-0.

Reed said at the beginning there was a big risk of scheduling the tournament, because so many teams in the tournament are ranked nationally.

With the county rivalry game coming up, Reed wants his players to get a confidence boost, while also realizing that they are not only playing Williamstown.

“One team is not dominant over the other,” he said. “We’re not playing the name on the uniform, it is just another team.”

For senior catcher Taryn Biddle, the rivalry with Williamstown is not so much a rivalry, but is still key to a big year for Grant County.

“It is a big game because it is Williamstown,” she said. “I don’t see Williamstown as a rival, but more of a district game, which our goal is to be undefeated and earn a number one seed in the tournament.”

Admission for the game is $4 for adult and $2 for students.