Lady Warriors earn regional crown
Tuscola’s softball team collected win number 27 on the year avenging earlier losses to a strong Shelbyville squad with a one run 8-7 win over the Lady Rams earning a spot in the IHSA’s Casey-Westfield Sectional. The Lady Warriors won their ninth regional title thanks to a five-run frame in the second inning and strong defensive game behind starting pitcher Ashton Smith.
Smith never wavered scattering 10 hits and two walks out over seven innings of action while striking out three. She battled through two early miscues by the Warriors then leaned on her defense late for a double play that ultimately secured the win. Smith was also big on offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate out of the seven spot. Doubles by seniors Isabelle Shelmadine, Ashtyn Clark, and Alexis Koester all drove in runs fueling the Warriors’ offense.
Shelbyville drew first blood scoring in the top of the first on a walk, a hit, and an error to take a 1-0 lead. They added their second unearned one inning later in the second and moved the lead to 2-0 before the Warriors struck back in the bottom half plating five runs to take a 5-2 lead. Allsion Clark got the ball rolling with an infield single, then scored on double by Koester, who moved on a bunt by Ashtyn Clark and scored on a single by Smith. Clark gave way to Kyra Moyer on the base paths, who plated run number three on a wild pitch on a walk drawn by Kaitlyn Reifsteck. The final two runs of the frame were pushed across on a double by Shelmadine giving the Warriors a three-run advantage.
Shelbyville roared back in the fifth with a grand slam taking a one run lead 6-5 only to watch the Warriors put up their second crooked number of the game adding three to the team totals moving in front for good. Jackie Watson singled and scored on a triple by Ali Clark who trotted home on a pass ball giving the Warriors a one run lead. Koester then worked her way on with a walk and plated the eighth run on an RBI double by Ashtyn Clark giving the Warriors a two-run buffer heading into the sixth up 8-6.
Smith fanned the final out of the sixth and used her defense to close the door in the seventh on a double play that started with a base hit to right. Claire Ring fired a strike on a relay to Ali Clark. Clark sent it home to her big sister Ashtyn, who tagged out a Ram at the plate for the first out. The catcher then found a hung up Ram between second and third which ended with out number two when Watson applied the tag at third. Watson wrapped up the win collecting the third out on a ground ball, and a throw to first sending the Warriors on the sectional round while collecting win number 28 on the year.