Softball wins opener

Norv and Mary Coblentz · Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The West Liberty softball team won their season-opening against the visiting Albernett Pirates May 21 2-0.

The Comets played heads-up defense, and the Pirates left the bases loaded twice.

"It was a beautiful game," West Liberty Head Coach Dave Reynolds said. "We played solid, solid defense. Pitching was good. Offensive-wise, I thought we'd score more runs tonight, but I think we will later in the season.We played smart defense tonight. I was proud of our kids."

In the first, a pop out to Haddie Anderson at second base, a groundout to Haylee Lehman at third, a walk, and a pop out to Breana Thurness at first base took care of the Pirates.

Lehman led off the Comets half of the first with a bunt single.

Macy Akers bunted, and runners ended up at second and third. Austyn Crees tried a sacrifice, but an error on the Alburnett pitcher scored Lehman, and put Comets on second and third base.

The next batter popped out. Anderson tried a sacrifice fly, and Akers appeared to score. However, the Pirates protested, and the umpire called Akers out for leaving third base early.

The Comets had a 1-0 lead going into the second inning

Alburnett got a runner to third base in the top of the second. The first batter got a bunt single. Pitcher Emma Mertin fielded a sacrifice bunt and threw to Anderson at first for the first out.

The next batter flied out to center fielder Parker Werling for the second out. Martin struck out the next batter, looking, to end the half inning.

In the bottom of the second, Thurness hit the ball over the first baseman's head. Brooklyn Harned sacrificed her to second. A pop out and a strike out ended the inning.

It was three quick outs for Alburnett in the top of the third. Martin fielded the first batter's bunt and threw to Thurness for the first out.

The next batter popped out to Anderson, and a groundout to Anderson ended the half-inning.

In the bottom of the third, Crees got a two-out single to center field, but a pop out left her on base.

Alburnett got a lead off single to center field in the top of the fourth. The runner was sacrificed to second.

A groundout to Anderson advanced the runner to third with two outs. A groundout to Akers at third left the runner stranded.

Anderson led off the Comets' fourth with a single up the middle. With Thurness at bat, Anderson took second base, and Thurness sacrificed her to third. The Comets tried a squeeze play, but Anderson was out at home.

Harned was safe at first. The next batter ended the inning with a fly out to center field.

In the top of the fifth, the first batter grounded out to Martin in the circle. The next batter singled to right field.

A wild pitch moved the runner to second, and the batter walked. A base hit to right field loaded the bases. Harned fielded the ball quickly to keep the runners from advancing.

The next batter hit to Martin, who got a force-out at home. The next batter grounded out to Anderson at second, and the Pirates left the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the fifth, the first Comets batter popped out in foul territory. Lehman bunted to the third base side and took second base on an overthrow.

With Akers at bat, Lehman stole third base. The Comets tried a squeeze play. Akers was safe at first, an Lehman remained at third. The next batter grounded out, but Lehman scored. A pop out ended the inning. The Comets had a 2-0 lead.

"A second run in that situation is huge," Reynolds said.

The Pirates loaded up the bases again in the top of the sixth but came away empty. The first batter singled to center field.

A hard line drive hit Lehman. The next batter flied out to Skylar Wendt in center field. A base on balls loaded the bases. The next batter flied out to

Harned in right field. She threw the ball to home to hold the runners. Martin struck out the next batter, swinging, on a changeup.

Anderson was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the sixth, and she advanced to second on a passed ball. But three strikeouts left her on base.

Needing two runs to keep the game going, the Pirates went down in order in the top of the seventh. Martin struck out the first batter.

The second batter grounded out to Anderson, and the third batter grounded out to Martin to end the game.

"We had seven of these kids down at state track," Alburnett Head Coach Kevin Johnson said. "It's been over a week since they've seen live pitching. Everything I saw tonight was predictable. We'll be all right."

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 T

Alburnett 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

West Liberty 1 0 0 0 1 0 x 2

West Liberty stats: Haylee Lehman 2-3, 2 runs, 1 stolen base; Macy Akers 2-3, 1 RBI, 2 stolen bases; Austyn Crees 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base; Haddie Anderson 1-2; Breana Thurness 1-2; Brookelyn Harned 1 stolen base. Pitching: Emma Martin pitched a gem and got her first win of the season. She pitched seven scoreless innings. She walked three, struck out three, and allowed seven hits.
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