LEWISVILLE — In softball, it doesn’t matter how a team scores, just that it does, and that was true for the Class A No. 6 Tri softball team Thursday evening in a Tri-Eastern Conference game against visiting Hagerstown at Titan Field.
The host Titans had only four hits in the contest, but Tiger pitchers issued 10 walks, hit two batters, and uncorked several wild pitches, and Hagerstown fielders committed five errors and had several passed balls.
All of this added up to a 16-0 Tri victory in a game that ended after 4 1/2 innings under the 10-run rule.
The Titans remained perfect in the TEC at 2-0 and improved to 9-4 for the season. The Tigers slipped to 1-2 in the conference and 4-9 overall.
“After the Shenandoah game Monday (an 8-2 loss), we talked about mental focus and our approach at the plate,” Tri Co-Coach Duke Falck said afterward. “We saw improvement in both of those aspects against South Decatur on Tuesday and tonight. Hagerstown didn’t have its best game in the circle, and we took what they gave us and turned that into runs.”
Tri senior Chloe Gentry had another masterful performance in the circle, allowing Hagerstown just two hits and a walk and striking out eight Tiger batters in five innings.
“Chloe was hitting her spots tonight,” Falck remarked, “and they (Tigers) couldn’t get much off of her. She’s a really good pitcher, and when she hits her spots, it’s tough to beat her.”
Gentry retired the visitors 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning.
Senior Tori Kelley was the starting hurler for Hagerstown and retired the first batter she faced in the bottom of the first, but walked Ashlynn Boyd on nine pitches. Cheyenne Lee and Kennedy Peggs followed with singles to left and centerfield, respectively, to load the bags.
Anastasia Sorrell popped up behind first base. The ball was dropped by the fielder, but the infield fly rule applied and Sorrell was out. However, Ashlynn Boyd scored on the play for the first run of the game.
Bailey Parham walked on five pitches to refill the sacks. Lee scored on a wild pitch and Maleah Hewitt walked to reload the bases. Morgan Richey walked to force in Peggs for a 3-0 Tri advantage, and freshman Hannah Pyle came into the circle to pitch for the Tigers with the bases loaded again.
Pyle issued consecutive walks to Rylee Boyd, Gentry, and Ashlynn Boyd. As all this was going on, Parham, Hewitt, Richey, and Rylee Boyd all scored on walks, wild pitches, or passed balls for a 7-0 Titan lead.
With Gentry on third base and Ashlynn Boyd on second, Pyle fanned the next batter on five pitches to finally end the inning.
“Our pitching and catching just have got to get better,” Hagerstown Head Coach Bruce Charles said after the game. “They (Titans) got only four hits, but way too many walks and a couple hit batsmen gave them a lot of baserunners, and wild pitches and passed balls gave then several of their runs.”
Gentry gave up a one-out hit to Hagerstown’s Meghan Dale in the top of the second inning, and Dale moved to second base on Hallie Rogers’ 1-3 groundout. The next batter grounded out 4-3 to end the half-inning.
Tri scored two runs in the last of the second without the benefit of a hit. Leading off, Peggs got plunked by a Pyle pitch, and Sorrell and Parham followed with walks.
Wild pitches and passed balls enabled Peggs and Sorrell to score to boost the Titan advantage to 9-0, and Parham to get to third base. Pyle retired the next two batters on a pop-up and strikeout, and Parham strayed too far from the bag on the strikeout and was tagged for the third out, ending the inning.
The Tigers’ Hannah Ridge led off the top of the third inning by lining a single down the right field line. But Gentry whiffed the next two batters and induced the one after than to ground out 4-3 to retire the side.
Tri added three runs to its lead in the last of the third. Freshman Rylee Boyd led off by tripling to the right field fence and scored on a wild pitch. Gentry got plunked by a Pyle pitch and advanced to third base after an error on Ashlynn Boyd’s ground ball.
“That at-bat by Rylee was the best one we had all night,” Falck noted. “She was patient, didn’t swing at bad pitches, and then found one she liked and hit the ball in a spot that allowed her to get a triple.”
After the next batter popped out to the second baseman, Peggs reached base when her infield pop-up was dropped, and Gentry scored on the error. Ashlynn Boyd went to third base and Peggs to second on a wild pitch.
Ashlynn Boyd scored for a 12-0 lead and Peggs went to third when Sorrell’s fly ball to the outfield was dropped for an error, and Sorrell took second base.
Pyle whiffed the next batter for the second out and then walked Hewitt to load the sacks. But Pyle fanned the next batter swinging for the third out to retire the side.
Gentry retired Hagerstown in order in the top of the fourth inning.
Kelley returned to the circle for Hagerstown and the Titans padded their lead with four more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Rylee Boyd led off by lining a ball that got past the right fielder all the way to the fence. Boyd sped around the bases for an inside-the-park home run and 13-0 Tri advantage.
“Thank you,” Rylee Boyd said when congratulated on her perfect night at the plate and her team’s only extra-base hits. “I just found an inside pitch I liked and hit it as hard as I could. It was nice we got the game over early.”
Gentry walked on five pitches, stole second base, took third on a wild pitch, and scored when Ashlynn Boyd’s grounder was bobbled by the fielder. Boyd took second base on an error on Lee’s grounder to the infield.
Boyd and Lee moved up a base on a wild pitch. Both runners stayed put when the next batter flew out, but Boyd scored and Lee went to third on Sorrell’s 1-3 groundout.
A passed ball enabled Lee to cross the plate, boosting the host’s lead to 16-0, before the next batter struck out swinging to end the inning.
“When we get good pitching and don’t make errors, we can compete with teams,” Charles added, “and that’s what we did in our four wins. We didn’t have Marissa Slagle (the Tigers’ top hitter) tonight, which hurt us. We’ll continue to work to get better and see what we can do the rest of the season.”
Gentry issued a two-out walk to Ridge in the top of the fifth inning, but struck out the other three batters she faced to end the game at 6:39 p.m., 1:26 after it started.
Tri hosts Morristown today. Hagerstown travels to Centerville Monday for another TEC contest.
Tri 16, South Decatur 0
Tuesday evening, the Titans hosted the Cougars and exploded for 11 runs in the last of the fourth inning to propel them to the big win in 4 1/2 innings.
Chloe Gentry was the winning pitcher and several Tri players had multiple hits on the evening. The Titans scored in each of the four innings in which they batted.
Gentry had both an outstanding night at the plate and in the circle. She had more hits at the plate than she allowed South Decatur to get. Gentry struck out 11 Cougars while giving up only two hits.
One of Gentry’s hits was a solo home run in the second inning. She also had a double and a single on the evening.
Other Titans shining at the plate were Cheyenne Lee with three hits and two RBI, Kennedy Peggs with a pair of hits and RBI apiece, and Anastasia Sorrell with two hits and a trio of RBI.
Cayla Claar, Bailey Parham, Maleah Hewitt, Ashlynn and Rylee Boyd, along with Courtney Mummert, all had hits in the game.