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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Preble Shawnee won this years Preble County fastpitch tournament. But it was not easy for the team as their first game was against Twin Valley South. It was a classic pitchers duel as the game featured the two best pitchers in the county, Hannah Belvo of Preble Shawnee and Emily Froment of Twin Valley South. Both pitchers are seniors and have had great careers at their respective schools.

Both pitchers were interviewed before the game. And both pitchers are planning to play at the next level “I am going to Anderson,” stated Belvo, “they were league champs this year, so I am excited to be going to play for them. I did look at Muskingum because they both had nursing programs.” “But its been awesome here at Shawnee, she added, I've been blessed. Coach Lynch this year has been great, he has really pushed us this year.”

Next up was Emily Froment who commented on the season, “Its been good overall, but it has been kind of up and down,” she said, “however over the last few weeks we have come along strong.” About Belvo, “She's a really nice pitcher, we have met many times in high school and in summer select teams.” When asked about her overall record against her, she thought that she had the overall advantage. Belvo has a fellow senior, Katie Woodward, as a catcher while Froment is pitching to a freshman. “It was tough at first, but Shelby has really come on – we have adjusted to each other.” Like Belvo, she looked at other schools but the University of Dayton seemed like the best fit. “I liked their coaches a lot, plus my pitching coach was over at UD. And it is close enough that my parents can come watch me play.”

But back to the game, it was scoreless until late in the game when Shawnee got a batter on first, who stole second, got to third and scored on a pass ball. South able to get runners on first and second in their last at bat, but a double play sealed the 1-0 win for Shawnee.

That put Shawnee into the championship game against National Trail who had run ruled Eaton earlier in the afternoon 14-0 to earn their chance at the title. Again the game was a close one. Shawnee scored a run first, but Trail rallied and scored a couple of runs to go up. Belvo had started the game, but went to first base to rest her arm. A teammate took over the mound for a couple of innings, but after the runs were scored, Belvo returned to finish out the game. Not long after she returned, she was able to record a record setting strikeout – number 198 that gave her the most career strikeouts at Shawnee. A school record that had stood for 20 years. Behind her the team scored 3 more runs and earned the title with a 4-2 victory. Belvo helped her cause with a double; Courtney Lakes was 3-3 at the plate.

“Emily Froment is such a great pitcher.”, stated Shawnee's Coach Lynch afterward, “Probably the best pitcher we face this year. You have to scratch and claw and do everything you have to do to get a run in. We were fortunate to come away with that win.” Against Trail, “Our enthusiasm went from skyhigh against South, to rock bottom against Trail. Plus we didn't hit the ball very well. We were lucky to eek out a 4-2 win. On the season, “It has been phenomenal, we had one loss to Madison. But like I told the girls we played a 100 plus perfect innings, and one bad inning – how can you gripe about that. And it wasn't really that bad of an inning, just a couple of fluke things.”

“What a great fastpitch softball game,” stated South's coach Robinson about their game against Shawnee,”  2 great pitchers going at it.  We continue to chase balls that are not strikes.  It's easy to do though, against a pitcher like Belvo who hits her spots so well.  As much as I hated to lose that game, I thought we played them much stronger this game than when we saw them early in the season.  They did get a couple of hits off of bunts, but other than that, we fielded their short game really well.  I give Shawnee credit:  their defense was perfect behind Belvo's pitching.  There's a reason that they've only lost one game this year.”

It was a tough day for South bats as Tri-County North won the consolation game 4-0 over TVS. The team did not cross the plate all day. “Definitely not the game we were hoping to play after the great Shawnee game.  It's hard to know that we out-hit them 7-4, but they out-scored us 4-0, especially knowing that we didn't have any errors.  We just couldn't string any hits together to produce runs.” spoke Coach Robinson afterwards.

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