“I guess I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty,” said Lady Dee softball Coach Darren Hill as he and co-head coach Jani Dorpinghaus and unbeaten freshman/JV Coach Tori Albaugh gathered in the outfield following a 2-1 win over Centerville.
“It was evident that Jena (Lawrence) was struggling to find the strike zone,” said Coach Dorpinghaus. “Our kids started to press at the plate to help her out and ended up swinging at a lot of bad pitches and hitting pop-ups.”
What the Dees did bring to the game was a stellar defensive effort and timely hitting. Centerville had bases loaded in the first two innings, reaching base on a couple of walks, a couple of hits and and the Dees only error.
An outstanding play by Alex Beard on a wild pitch stopped a run from scoring in the second.
Lawrence was constantly working behind a one or two-ball count, but found her stride in the third, retiring the side in order and then again in the fourth with two strikeouts and with terrific infield play by Rylee Leshen, Kennedy Schroeder and Abbey Griffin.
Centerville’s pitcher, Alyssa McElvain, threw lots of off speed stuff and played with the corners, basically shutting down Albia’s free-swinging offense. Makenna Ross got the first of her two hits in the first and was left stranded, MacKenna Jones singled in the second, Danica Workman (running for her) stole second and was left stranded by a pair of strikeouts.
Ellie Spurgin hit a hard single right up the middle to start the third, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on an error hit to centerfield by Ross. Jones singled with one out in the fourth and Workman stole second and reached third before a strikeout ended the inning with Albia still leading 1-0.
Lawrence gave up a walk but struck out one and Spurgin in left and Beard behind the plate made two nice catches to end the inning. Ross would single in the fifth, but pop-ups continued to dog the Dees offense.
Lawrence gave up a single and a two-out walk, but struck out Riley Hawk to get through the sixth unscathed and the Dees manufactured a second run in the bottom of the sixth when Schroeder singled, moved to third on throwing miscues and came home on a deep sacrifice fly by Lawrence. Workman laid down a perfect bunt single, stole her third base but the Redettes forced a pop-up and a strikeout ended the inning with Albia leading 2-0 going into the seventh.
Lawrence started the seventh by walking number nine hitter Teghan Maxwell, struck out the top of the order Mickey Stephens, then gave up a single to Taylor Shinn, moving Maxwell to third. Claire Mathews hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Maxwell and advancing Shinn to third.
Clean-up hitter McElvain launched a Lawrence pitch deep into centerfield, but Workman made a perfect move on the ball, ran back and caught it for the final out.
Lawrence gave up four hits and five walks while striking out five. The Dees were led at the plate by MacKenna Jones and Makenna Ross with two hits each, Spurgin with a hit and a run scored, Schroeder with a hit and a run scored, Lawrence with an RBI and Workman with a hit and three stolen bases.
The Dees (9-3 and 3-1 in the SCC) played a rare mid-day game at Davis County on Thursday in a rain make-up and are home Friday against Clarke. Centerville falls to 5-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play.