MOUNT SUMMIT — The visiting Tri and host Blue River Valley High School softball teams were able to play a game between the falling of raindrops Wednesday evening in the diamond on Hillsboro Road across from the school.
With rain earlier in the afternoon, there was a slight chance that the game might have to be moved to Titan Field, but the rain dissipated and the diamond was made playable for the contest.
Tri defeated the Vikings 17-0 in five innings, and more raindrops were falling at the conclusion of the contest.
The Titans improved to 2-0 for the young season and have outscored their opponents 43-0 in the two contests.
It was the first game of the season for Blue River, and the Vikings, of course, are now 0-1 in the 2021 campaign.
Blue River Head Coach Courtney Stultz was upbeat afterward despite the loss.
“After not having a season last year, we’re just happy to be back outside playing again,” Stultz said. “We have only three players returning from two years ago and are loaded with freshmen, so we have a lot of work to do. Tri is a great program to look up to, and we hope to be playing on their level in a few years.”
Senior Tri pitchers Chloe Gentry and Kennedy Peggs combined for a five-inning no-hitter. Only one Blue River player reached base against Gentry and two against Peggs.
“Blue River has a really young team,” Tri Co-Coach Bryan Peggs said afterward, “and their coach is trying to build a program from the bottom-up. We were in that same position back in 2012. I thought their kids played hard with great attitudes, but so did our kids. At this time of year, you’re just glad to be out on the diamond playing a game.”
Even with COVID-19 concerns wiping out the entire 2020 high school softball season (and all other spiring sports, as well), Tri fielded a veteran and much more experienced team than did the Vikings.
The Titans had a starting lineup of seniors Gentry, Peggs, Cheyanne Lee, Anastacia Sorrell, Madison Hill, and Morgan Richey; juniors Cayla Claar and Maleah Hewitt; and freshman Rylee Boyd.
Blue River countered with a starting nine of senior Sophi Alexander; juniors Tori Zentz, Caitlyn Adkins, and Tanesha Parrish; and freshmen Emma McDonald, Lainey Shelton, Ashlynn Williams, Autumn Wood, and Ashley Buckley.
Thinking the game had been moved to Tri because of the afternoon rains, this reporter drove to Titan Field first. Finding a bunch of vehicles but no people there, he drove to Blue River Valley and arrived at the start of the second inning.
Tri sent 10 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the top of the first inning against Viking starting pitcher Zentz.
Gentry retired all three of the Blue River hitters she faced in the bottom of the first, and the Titans led 7-0 after one inning of play.
In the top of the second inning, Claar drew a five-pitch walk, Lee got plunked by a Zentz pitch, and Peggs hit a fielder’s choice grounder which forced Lee out at second base, putting runners on the corners with one away.
An error on Sorrell’s ground ball plated Claar and Peggs took third base. Hewitt’s infield hit enabled Peggs to cross the plate to make it 9-0.
With Hill at the plate, Hewitt got caught between the bags and was tagged out at second base. Hill walked on four pitches, but Richey grounded out to end the half-inning.
Gentry retired the first two Viking batters in the last of the second by strikeout and groundout. Gentry then plunked Wood with a pitch for the only batter to reach base against her. Gentry fanned the next batter on three pitches to retire the side.
Tri batted around in the top of the third inning, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring six runs.
In order, Rylee Boyd drew a leadoff walk against Zentz, Gentry singled, Claar walked, Lee walked, Peggs drew a bases on balls, Sorrell singled to centerfield, and Hewitt got an infield hit.
Boyd, Gentry, Claar, Lee, and Peggs scored during that sequence for a 14-0 Titan advantage.
Hewitt was forced out at second base on Hill’s fielder’s choice grounder, and Richey singled to plate Sorrell, boosting the Tri lead to 15-0.
Hill intentionally walked off the bag, and Richey did the same thing a short time later for the final two outs of that half-inning.
Gentry retired Blue River 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third.
The Titans started inserting their reserves in the top of the fourth inning. Emma Hicks led off by getting hit by a Zentz pitch. Ellie Hicks and Courtney Mummert followed with walks to load the bags.
Kennedi Knepley drew a bases on balls to plate Emma Hicks, and Katie Bell grounded out while Ellie Hicks crossed the plate for a 17-0 Tri lead.
Mummert intentionally walked off the bag for the second out, and Trinity Mettert grounded out 5-3 to end the half-inning.
Peggs came into the circle for the Titans in the bottom of the fourth. Leadoff batter McDonald reached base on an error and managed to stumble into second base safely.
Peggs whiffed the next batter on four pitches for the first out, but then plunked Sexton with a pitch on a 0-2 offering, so Blue River had two on with one away.
However, Peggs struck out the next two Viking batters on three and six pitches, respectively, to get out of the half-inning unscathed.
Williams came in to pitch for Blue River in the top of the fifth inning. Light rain had begun falling again, so Titan leadoff batter Vikki Pursley singled to centerfield and then walked off the bag for the first out to speed the game along.
Trinity Baker and Ashlynn Boyd also were issued bases on balls by Williams, but both walked off the bag after receiving their free passes to retire the side with no runs scoring.
Peggs retired the Vikings in order in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game on the 10-run rule at 6:45 p.m.
“Our girls were very disciplined at the plate today,” Co-Coach Peggs added, “and our pitchers, Chloe and Kennedy, threw strikes. There are a lot of good teams in our area and in our conference, but you want those kinds of challenges and so do our girls. They have worked their tails off in practice and are a pleasure to coach.”
Both Tri and Blue River are off next week for the rest of spring break and won’t return to action until the week of April 5.
“I thought our starting pitcher (Zentz) threw well after not getting to play at all last year,” Stultz added, “and we had some good swings at the plate. Getting some runners on base was nice, and now we have to figure out how to bring them across the plate. We’ll get better as the season goes on, but we won’t play again until the Wednesday after spring break.”