Softball Team Falls In 11 innings to Madison-Grant 1-0

Posted on May 13, 2017 in Softball, Spring Sports

FAIRMOUNT — With softball sectionals starting in little more than a week, Oak Hill and Madison-Grant waged a battle Friday evening with the feel and intensity of a tournament game.
The Golden Eagles’ Bayli Toy and the Argylls’ Maddi Evans were locked in a pitchers’ dual that kept scoring opportunities at a mimimum, and whenever one was presented, both girls made key pitches and each defense made the necessary plays to keep the game scoreless.
But the game was decided on infield single by speedy Argylls senior Katie Ailes and a throw that skipped past Oak Hill’s first baseman, which allowed Morgan Conliff to score from second base with an unearned run and a 1-0 host Argylls victory in 11 innings on Senior Night.
Although neither Toy nor Evans were dominant in the circle, both were outstanding in keeping opposing hitters off balance and minimizing hard hit balls in pitching the distance for their respective teams.
Both Toy and Evans used the same approach, throw strikes and let the defense work.
“It came down to just trusting your defense for me,” Evans said. “I’ve got to trust the defense, they’ve always been there for me and I can always thank them because they’re the reason why we get we’re at.”
Evans fanned 10 Oak Hill hitters and allowed just six hits and three walks over her 11 innings of work. Toy scattered 10 hits with five strikeouts, three walks and a key hit batsmen in the 11th in taking the tough-luck loss.
“I had to put a lot of trust in my defense, I know they can play really well,” Toy said. “I knew (Madison-Grant) would hit the ball so I was just placing pitches where they could hit and we could make outs. That’s what we ended up doing. We got in some sticky spots, but I was really proud of us. Under pressure we were really nice.”
All 16 hits in the game were singles.
Madison-Grant had perhaps its best opportunity to score in the bottom of the first inning. Ailes led off with a single and stole second base, and after Maggie Havens walked and Alie Carson reached on an error, Argylls’ clean-up hitter Ellie Alcala lofted a fly ball to center field that the Eagles’ Kaela Robey ran down at medium depth. Robey then threw a strike to catcher Maddie Nall, who blocked the plate and tagged out Ailes for the third out of the inning.
The play started Toy on a streak that saw her set down eight Argyll hitters in a row before Carson and Alcala had back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fourth.
“(Toy) had us off stride, I don’t think we really drove anything,” Madison-Grant coach Danny Justus said. “(Oak Hill) came to play and it was an enjoyable game. Obviously, somebody had to lose and that’s kind of a shame but both teams can look back and say that they gave everything.”
Evans retired the first nine Oak Hill batters she faced, though Korinne Perkins reached first after a dropped third strike in the second inning, before Coleena Selleck singled with two outs in the third for the Eagles’ first hit. After Selleck stole second, Evans issued two of her walks back-to-back to Maria Buckler and Jenessa Hasty to load the bases. But Robey’s deep fly ball to left was hauled in by Ashley Honeycutt in foul territory to thwart Oak Hill’s opportunity.
The Argylls put together another serious threat in the sixth inning when Toy walked Evans and Havens to lead off the frame, then with one out Alcala was hit by a pitch to load the bases again. Toy then got Katelyn Shouse to fly out to shallow left and set down Conliff on strikes to get out of the jam.
Carson, Alcala and Shouse strung together three singles in a row with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Toy picked up another strikeout to strand the baserunners.
Maria Buckler led off Oak Hill’s eighth with a base hit and went to second on a wild pitch, but Evans retired the middle of the Golden Eagles order on a fly out to right and pop ups to third base and first base.
Buckler singled again with two outs in the 10th and was stranded at first, while Robey led off the 11th with a solid single to left, but the Argylls turned a perfectly executed double play before Evans recorded her 10th strikeout.
Madison-Grant’s winning rally started with Conliff reaching after being hit by a Toy pitch with two strikes. Honeycutt dropped a sacrifice bunt to move her to second. Nall made a nice sliding catch of another bunt attempt to get the second out of the inning before Ailes hit a slow roller to short that necessitated a quick catch and throw to get the third out, but resulted in an error and Conliff scoring the game-winning run from second base.
“Our defense overall played pretty well,” Oak Hill coach Ben Johnson said. “That last play, I know we’re upset about it, but with how fast Ailes is, man that girl can fly. It was just a little mistep and with her speed, that’s all it takes.”
Carson and Ailes each had three hits for M-G. Carson reached base in all five of her at bats. Alcala picked up two hits while Shouse and Honeycutt each had one. Havens walked twice for the Argylls.
Buckler had a pair of hits and a walk for Oak Hill, while Selleck, Robey, Perkins and Ashlyn Transier each had one hit for Oak Hill.
Madison-Grant (14-6) hosts Churubusco at 10 a.m. today as part of a four-team invitational. Oak Hill (12-5) travels to Southwood for a doubleheader starting at 10 a.m. today.

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