The GHS Lady Ridgerunner summer softball team played host to the Afton Lady Eagles squad at Lady Red Field Monday night in double hitter action.
The visitors claimed the first set by a score of 2-0 while Grove won the nightcap with a 5-1 decision.
Both teams were shorthanded Monday. Summer vacations and various other affairs left the Lady Ridgerunners without some familiar faces. The situation was even direr for the Lady Eagles as they were two hands short of a full field. Grove’s own Alyssa Linn and Alex Rupe were good sports and joined the Afton squad for one night to fill in the outfield.
Gregoreye Epperson was the starting pitcher for the Lady Red in game one. The Grove hurler sat two Lady Eagle’s down by strikeout to pace the four and out side of the first inning.
Rachel Allington posted a double and Alex Woods reached base for the Lady Red in the first but both were left stranded as the inning closed out.
The Lady Eagles posted a run in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead and the Lady Red went three and out in the bottom.
Three walks and a single to open the third enabled Afton to put up another run. Following that Epperson delivered two consecutive strikeouts while a retrieved pop fly brought the side to a close.
Tori Winters produced a single in the Grove half of the third but otherwise it was a four and out affair for the Lady Red.
In the fourth and final inning of game one Lady Red-turned-Lady Eagle for-a-night Rupe got on base with a single but the Grove defense held tough and sent Afton back to the field scoreless for the inning.
Behind by two runs and down to their last offensive side the Grove bats came out swinging in the bottom of the fourth.
Woods opened the dance with a single and teammate Shandi Crossley followed suit with a hit of her own.
The next Lady Red batter, catcher Katie Stout, grounded out but the base runners advanced around the diamond to edge closer to home.
Grove struck pay dirt on the next at bat when Andrea Gonzales ground out driving in Woods to cut the Afton advantage in half.
But a pop fly ended the rally allowing the Lady Eagles to collect the win.
After a short break, in which the Lady Red honored the Afton win with a series of wind sprints under the watchful gaze of Coach Duff, the teams gathered back together to begin game two.
Allington produced a single in the first inning of game two and that hit was followed up by one from Crossley. Crossley tried to stretch her shot into a double but was tagged out at second. But while the Lady Eagle infielders were busy with Crossley, Allington darted across home plate to put Grove on the scoreboard.
The bottom of the first saw Andrea Gonzales step into the pitcher’s circle for Grove. A strikeout, a ground out, and a right field pop-fly retrieved by Cory Watkins sent the Eagles back to the field empty-handed.
Shea Scott was the first batter in the box for Grove as the second inning began. Scott reached first base on a dropped third strike and then moved to second on a Lady Eagle overthrow.
Gonzales was the next batter and she made it to base after being hit by a pitch.
Logan Cook then loaded the bases for Grove with a line drive single.
Cook’s blast bounced off the throwing wrist of the Afton pitcher, Jakey Dobbs. There were a few tense moments at first as Dobbs was in some obvious pain. After a short break Dobbs stepped back in the circle and finished out the game.
Dobbs seemed to suffer no ill effects from her stinger as she delivered a strikeout to the next batter, however one pitch got away and that allowed Scott to steal home for the second Lady Red score of the game.
The Grove defense shutout the Lady Eagles in the bottom of the second and the Lady Red bats began the third with a shot that dropped between second and center field courtesy of Winters.
After a Lady Red ground out Woods reached base on a single and Winters advanced to third.
A wild Lady Eagle pitch while Crossley was at bat meant that Winters stole home to put Grove up 3-0. Crossley then grounded out but the shot drove Woods in for another Lady Red score.
The bottom of the third saw Afton go four and out, one batter reached base after being hit by a pitch, as the Lady Red defense continued to stifle the Lady Eagles.
Turnabout is fair play, however, and the Lady Ridgerunners went three and out at the top of the fourth.
In their side of the inning the Lady Eagles posted a single and a double but Gonzales delivered two strikeouts between them and a grounder ended the Afton side with the Lady Eagles still scoreless.
Grove opened the fifth and final inning with a single by Shelby Lupardus. Watkins and Winters each earned walks to load the bases.
The Lady Eagle infield caught a nice line drive fly from the next Grove batter, Allington, and in the confusion Lupardus was forced out as well.
Woods then hit a nice shot that drove Watkins in for Grove’s fifth run of the game.
Afton started a small rally in the bottom of the fifth but another Gonzales strikeout was the beginning of the end for the Lady Eagles as Grove took the victory.
The games marked the final event for the Lady Ridgerunner team as far as summer league is concerned. From here the Grove players will take a well-earned break in anticipation of softball two-a-days, which will begin later this summer.