SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Playing with a lead can sometimes be a challenging thing to do.
Tuesday’s Western Buckeye League softball opener between rivals Wapakoneta and Shawnee was a prime example.
Wapakoneta saw its 7-2 lead quickly vanish as Shawnee scored six runs in the home half of the fifth inning and then closed it out for an 8-7 victory over the Redskins.
With the win, Shawnee remains unbeaten and improves to 9-0 (1-0 WBL). Wapakoneta slips to 5-5, 0-1.
Shawnee recorded six base hits in the fifth inning, led by Abby Hall’s double that drove in three of the runs. Hall, a junior, came off the bench to hit for the Indians.
Shawnee had plenty of offensive power against Wapakoneta. For the game, the Indians pounded 11 base hits. Shelby Lucas and Hannah Taylor both had two hits each for Shawnee.
“I knew we needed base runners and we needed some runs,” Hall said. “So, I just wanted to put the ball in play.”
Hall has fit into her role of being a pinch-hitter.
“She (Hall) has been hitting for us a lot,” Shawnee co-head coach Eric Truxal said. “I think she’s like 9-for-13 now. Not many players can come off the bench for one at-bat and come out and do it. She’s done it consistently, and we have a lot of confidence in her.”
However, Wapakoneta outhit Shawnee for the game. The Redskins had a total of 13 hits off Shawnee pitcher Kaylyn Shick.
Shick pitched all seven innings for the Indians. The junior right-hander struck out six and did not walk a batter. Shick threw a total of 107 pitches.
Renee Lovett went the distance in the pitching circle for Wapakoneta. Lovett fanned seven and walked one. She threw 104 pitches on the day.
Wapakoneta had several players record multiple hits. Both Lovett and Carli Sammons went 4-for-4 at the plate. Katie Sawmiller and Alexis Schwartz each had two hits for the Redskins.
Wapakoneta jumped out early, taking a 3-0 lead in the first. The Redskins extended its lead to 4-0 after three innings.
Shawnee finally scored in the fourth. Both Taylor and Becca Rader had RBI-doubles in the fourth for the Indians.
Then in the fifth, Shawnee exploded for the six runs.
“We had a lot of girls that contributed in that inning (fifth),” Shawnee co-head coach John Young said. “That’s the team concept that we’ve been talking to the girls about since the beginning of the year. Everybody has a role and everyone can contribute. …And that inning is a good example.”
Wapakoneta coach Bill Sammons gave Shawnee credit for the way it battled back.
“I was pleased with our girls. …I really was. Shawnee is a great team. I don’t think our team can handle the pressure of being ahead against Shawnee. Shawnee is a scrappy team and they find a way. I think we hit the ball really well against a pretty nice pitcher. But, hats off to Shawnee. They did their job,” Sammons said.