SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – Sometimes records can be deceiving.
The Shawnee softball team has been on a roll and has started the season 12-0, 4-0 in the Western Buckeye League. Elida, meanwhile, is young and struggling along at 6-5 and 1-2 in the WBL.
The two teams met Friday at Shawnee and Elida made the Indians play their hardest and Shawnee was able to respond with a hard-fought 5-4 victory.
The Bulldogs were able to grab the lead twice, but Shawnee was able to bounce back to either tie the game or grab the lead. The Indians finally put the win away when they scored in the bottom of the fifth and turned the game over to pitcher Kay Shick.
Shick, who improved her record to 11-0, shut down the Elida hitters over the final two innings to preserve the win for Shawnee.
Elida grabbed a 1-0 lead when starting pitcher Arianna Brown singled in the top of the second and scored on a triple by center fielder Erica Kiel.
Shawnee answered in the bottom of the second when Indians third baseman Kierstan Courtney homered to tie the game at 1-1. It was Courtney’s second homer of the year.
“It felt good and it’s nice to contribute and help-out.” Courtney said.
The Bulldogs bounced right back and took a 3-1 lead in the third thanks to a two-run home-run off the bat of shortstop Sabrina Kline.
Once again, the Indians responded thanks to a catchers’ interference call that gave Shawnee runners at first and second with two outs.
Left fielder Taylor Lucas drove a triple that tied the game at 3. She then scored the go ahead run on an errant pick-off attempt which gave Shawnee a 4-3 lead after three innings of play.
“I’ve been struggling and tend to get down on myself but went 4 for 4 Thursday night and that restored my confidence.” Lucas said.
Elida evened the score at 4-4 in the fifth inning when Skylar Hurst walked, advanced to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Brett Pauff, and came around to score the tying run when Taylor Thompson singled.
The Indians then showed why they are undefeated. Shortstop Shelby Lucas tripled leading off the inning and scored the go- ahead run on a sacrifice fly by catcher Britt Lauck.
“We knew Elida had a good team and we were kind of lucky and blessed to get out with the victory,” Shawnee co-head coach Eric Truxal said. “We had different players step up big-time tonight.”
Elida coach Mike Eilerman was pleased with the Bulldogs effort but not the result.
“They’ve got a couple of all-state players and that leadership showed up tonight,” Eilerman said of the Indians. “It was good back-and-forth game. If we can compete with Shawnee, we can compete with anyone in the WBL."