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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Touching Base April 27th

Tri-County North scored a big win this week by defeating last year’s league champs – Miami East.  The Panthers started their week with a decisive 8-1 win over the Bethel Bee’s.  Then they ended their week on Friday with a back and forth game against the Vikings.  North had a big 5th inning to get a lead in the game. But in the top half of the last inning, the Vikings had a big inning of their own, scoring 4 runs to tie the game.  But North scored a single run in the last half of the inning to cement the victory and solidify their claim to first place in the CCC.   Logan Elmore chalked up the win; Austin Hutchins was 2 for 4 at the plate as was Kodey Hawthorne.  North continues league play with games against Covington, Trail, and rival Twin Valley South.  Then they cap off the week hosting the Cody Holp Classic on Saturday, May 3rd. Brookville, Anna, and Arcanum will be the other teams at this game.

The Tri-County North girls did not fare as well with a 5-6 loss against Tri-Village.  The Preble Shawnee girls had a .500 week.  So after a strong start, they have slipped a bit.  They lost to 2nd place Milton Union 13-2 and in extra winnings they lost a close game to Edgewood 9-8.  They had a shut out win against Middletown Madison 3-0 and edged West Carrollton 3-2.  This puts the team in 3rd place in their division. There is still plenty of time  left in the season to make a run for first place. The Preble Shawnee boys had a frustrating week, getting run ruled in their two losses to Middletown Madison and Carlisle.

The Dixie girls built some momentum this week.  They got off to a slow start this season, but this was an impressive week for the team.  They blanked Eaton 9-0 (winning pitcher Tori Bargo; Jordan Buxton 4-4 from the plate), and defeated Milton Union 10-7, and West Carrollton 7-4.  Their lone loss was to Madison (5-2).  Their record stands at 6-8, but if the team continues to improve look for them to move up in the buckeye division standings.  The Dixie boys captured a single win this week against Botkins 12-5, but lost their other 3 games to Milton Union, Madison, and Carlisle.

The Twin Valley South boys had a nice 14-3 win against Ansonia, but just lost to Mississinewa Valley 8-7.  It was a tough week for the South girls starting with their Monday game against Mississinewa Valley, “We did only have 4 errors this game, which would normally be a lot, but dropping down from 12 errors in our last game is good.  The thing is, Mississinewa Valley took advantage of every error we had.  Plus, since our skill level isn't anywhere close to being where it's been over the past decade, a lot of opponent's hits are being recorded as hits, because we're just not able to get to the ball to make a play.  In other years, a lot of those hits would be putouts,” Stated coach Robinson afterwards.

South also played against state ranked Covington, “Covington is one of the best teams that we'll face, and they proved themselves worthy of their state ranking (3rd).  We had an extreme amount of errors tonight, but Covington is good at forcing you into making mistakes by their aggressive baserunning.  As bad as it looked, we had a few players that had really good games, defensively.  Sophie Cottingim and Jerica Taylor both had nice games on the right side of the infield, and Ali Robertson did an outstanding job at 3rd.  For two games in a row now, we've seen tremendous improvement in Lacey Emrick, behind the plate.  We got a chance to practice yesterday, and we worked really hard with her to help her gain some confidence in making throws to each of the bases.  It seems to have paid off.  At the plate, we didn't have a lot of hits, but I thought our team went to the plate with confidence against a really good pitcher.  I don't think Covington is used to someone starting the game off with a hit, and we did so, in Ashley Robertson.  Several of the players put the ball in play, but with Covington's solid defense, it was tough trying to find the holes.” 

The South girls team ended their week by sweeping a double header against New Miami - run ruling the Vikings in both games. Coach Robinson was elated with the victories, "Delaney Adams pitched a complete game in the first game of the day.  We had a dropped thrown ball in the first inning which extended the inning, making it look like it was going to be more of the same (of what we've been seeing all season).  But we came back out on defense in the second inning, after scoring 4 runs and taking the lead, to sit them down in order.  A fielding error in the third inning allowed another unearned run, but then with bases loaded, Delaney struck out a batter, and got the final batter of the inning to ground out to the pitcher.  I thought that was a big turning point in the game, because we retired the last 6 batters in order.  Sophie Cottingim had a huge game at the plate, going 3 for 3, with a walk added in there, and having 4 RBI's.  Her game-ending triple drove in the final 3 runs that pushed us to the 10 run limit after 5 innings."

She continued commentary on the second game, "Ali Robertson went the distance on the mound, allowing 6 hits, but NO walks.  I think that was really big, because it seems that every time our pitchers walk someone or we commit an error, those batters always find a way to score.  So not putting runner on, helped our defense settle down and allowed them just to concentrate on getting the batters out.  To think that we went 7 straight innings without an error, was quite an improvement over the past 8 games where we often had more errors than hits.  Ashley Robertson had a solid performance in center field, turning a double play, and recording 2 assists.  Jerica Taylor had a big day at first base too, see much improvement.  Really, all of our defensive players did a nice job today, including Lacey Emrick who caught both games.  Offensively, in the second game, our first three batters, Ashley Robertson, Lacey Emrick and Ali Robertson, accounted for 11 runs scored and 10 runs batted in, in just 4 innings.  In the second inning, all 9 players scored at least one run.  So it was great to see the girls relax and just hit the ball.  We've talked all season how hitting is contagious; not hitting is contagious too.  So yes, once we got going and really started hitting and driving in runs, it became really fun.  Some of our young players who have never played the game of softball before, finally got a taste of how great this game is.  Hopefully, we can use this to kick-start this next week of games."

Finally the South girls Wounded Warrior Project Game is postponed until May 7th.