David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

KANSAS- It is rare that a team comes calling on Gene Longcrier Field and manages to hold the Lady Comets to just a single run. And when that does happen, one might hope that their team could sneak away with a win. . . Especially if you need to beat them twice in a single day.  Such was the dilemma facing Westville’s Lady Yellow Jackets in Wednesday afternoon’s District softball play.  Although the game was at Longcrier Field, Westville was declared the home team by virtue of a pre-game coin toss.

With the Lady Comets batting first, the visitor’s Shayla Christian took the hill.  And that was where Kansas leadoff batter Summer Higgins jacked a solo shot out of the park for the game’s winning and only run.

Kristin Walker got the start for the Lady Comets and allowed the Jackets their only three hits of the game to load the bases in the bottom of the first. But Walker pitched her way out of the jam with a pair of pop ups and a strikeout. 

For the next four innings the Comet hurler did not allow a ball out of the infield.  In the bottom of the sixth a walk and an error in the outfield put runners on first and second with no outs.  But the Kansas defense got the lead runners on the next trio of infield grounders, to keep Westville out of the scorebook on the way to the 1-0 victory.

In the second game Christian and Walker got the starting nods again for their respective teams and the Lady Jacket offense went straight to work.  Leadoff Cheyenne Wilkie reached on a walk and moved to second on Amber Brach’s infield sacrifice.  A single by Kate Atchison put runners on the corners with the Westville cleanup hitter coming to bat.  Emily Atchison rifled a line shot back at the pitcher’s mound that was deftly fielded by Walker.  The Kansas pitcher then caught the Yellow Jacket runner strolling back to the base, for a heads up line-out, throw ’em out double play. 

The Lady Comet offense remained dormant for the first two innings before they finally exploded in the third.  Sending 10 batters to the dish, Kansas got RBI hits off of the bats of Courtney Barnard, Walker, Amy Rackliff and Barb Helton and scored five times.

The visitors last threat of the day came in the top of the fourth.  Mercedes Carlton reached on a two-out error and advanced to second on Jacy Blackwood’s single.  But Walker continued to frustrate the Lady Jackets when she whiffed the next batter. Higgins and Walker reached base and scored their second runs of the game in the top of the sixth, to seal the District Championship, 7-0.

The Lady Comets advance to next week’s Regional Tournament, with the dates and sites to be determined by the OSSAA.