For The Independent
Just like a basketball coach ramping up the full-court press, Fairview coach Lauren Ellis tried to pressure Raceland into mistakes with aggressive base running.
But just as a poised point guard handles the onslaught of defenders on the basketball court, the Raceland fielders responded perfectly each time the pressure was applied.
Lady Ram catcher Morgan Curley nabbed three runners trying to swipe bags, while center fielder Taylor Podunavac threw out another Lady Eagle at the plate in Raceland’s 8-2 win on Friday night at Fairview.
“We don’t have a senior on the team, but we have a bunch of kids who have played a lot of softball,” Raceland coach Shawn Johnson said. “When they were under duress today, they responded. Sometimes when you are dealing with teenagers that is not what happens, but tonight they responded well and that is what we expect.”
After falling behind 3-2 in the top of the third, Ellis said she took more chances on the base paths in hopes of pushing across the tying run.
“Base running is the name of the game,” Ellis said. “I probably took some chances over at third that probably were not good decisions, but I felt like I had to take them in order to tie it.”
The Lady Eagles (2-1) had runners attempting to steal third in both the third and fifth innings.
Perhaps Fairview’s most costly gamble came in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and just one out, Kara Adkins lifted a pop fly to shallow center field, which Podunavac caught and fired a laser to home plate to cut down Becca Thompson, who was trying to tag and score from third.
“We ran ourselves out of a couple of innings,” Ellis said. “I took some chances just to try and make something happen.”
Over the final two innings, Raceland (2-0) eased some of the pressure with five insurance runs.
In the sixth inning, it was back-to-back doubles by Lacee Penix and Curley that plated a run.
“We expect them to put the ball in play,” Johnson said of the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in the Raceland lineup. “We were fortunate and they hit the ball really solidly. We had some timely hitting late.”
Leigh Grubb’s two-run single to center field and a Fairview defensive miscue allowed the Lady Rams to score four times in the final frame.
Fairview’s only two runs came in the opening inning when Lyndsey Burke came around to score on three wild pitches followed by Maddie Kirk scoring on a Raceland fielding error.
RACELAND 201 001 4 — 8 9 3
FAIRVIEW 200 000 0 — 2 9 5
Diller and Curley. T. Thompson and Kirk. W— Diller. L — Kirk. 2B: Diller (R), Penix (R), Curley (R), Dunn (F).