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By David Sharp
Knox County and Westran put on an offensive show in the early innings of their September 24, 2020 Lewis and Clark Conference varsity softball game at Kelly O’D Neal Field at Westran. The first four Knox County batters reached Hornet starter Ireland Chapman for base hits and scored.
Ireland Chapman responded with a two run homer during a four run Hornet first inning. The contest settled down in the late innings. Daniela Dooley laced a two run bases loaded hit in the seventh inning, helping seal a 14-9 Lady Eagle win.
Jen Hinkle and Riley Strange had RBI hits in the first frame. Kaitlin Campbell delivered a one out two RBI hit for the four run Knox County opening inning lead.
Maddie Burton led off the Westran first inning reaching base on a dropped third strike. Chapman drilled a home run off Knox County hurler Kinsley Johnson. Maddy Harvey hit a two run double.
Neither team played well defensively in much of the first five innings. Westran (8-7) bucked the trend, turning in several outstanding defensive plays in the outfield. A two out, two run error gave Westran a 5-4 lead after the first inning.
Knox County (4-6) came right back in the second when Kinsley Johnson doubled and scored on a wild pitch, tying the contest at five each. Jen Hinkle was hit by a pitch. Riley Strange singled Hinkle home for a 6-5 lead after two full innings.
The teams traded third inning scores. Taylor Walker singled leading off the Knox County third. Emily Carlson grounded out, scoring Walker. Westran center fielder Maddie Burton took an extra base hit and at least one RBI from Kinsley Johnson with a diving catch in center field for the final out.
Westran put their leadoff batter on during the third inning. Dylan Perry grounded out, sending Reanna Black home for a 7-6 tally after three innings of softball. Riley Strange keyed a three run fourth inning with a two run home run over the fence. Kaitlin Campbell drove Daniela Dooley home for a 10-6 lead. Dooley delivered a one out double.
Riley Strange was 3-4 with a home run, four runs batted in and three runs scored. Kaitlin Campbell was 3-5 with four RBI’s. Jen Hinkle went 3-3 with four runs scored and an RBI.
Westran came back with a three run fifth inning. Maddy Harvey hit a home run over the fence leading off the inning. Harvey was 4-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two Westran RBI’s.
Maddie Burton socked a clutch two out, two run double for a 10-9 score after five innings. “It was a big hit,” Westran coach Mark Harvey said of Daniela Dooley’s game sealing seventh inning hit.
“I thought their top four batters did an awesome job all night long,” Mark Harvey said. “We had trouble getting them out. That’s the same with a lot of teams. Once we got past that, we just had trouble making plays.”
“We gave them a few more runs than I felt like we should have, but it was a good game,” Coach Harvey said. “Both teams hit the ball well, so it was not bad at all.”
Hornet left fielder Piper Krog took a leadoff hit from Taylor Walker in the sixth inning. The play loomed large when Emily Carlson singled. Bryston Miller followed with a hit. The Hornets retired a runner on third base to end the inning with no scoring.
Knox County executed in the field during the Westran sixth inning. Taylor Walker started a relay play, cutting Ireland Chapman down at third base for the first out of the inning.
The Lady Eagles pulled off an 8-5 double play, thwarting a two hit sixth inning rally. Knox County took a 10-9 lead to the seventh inning.
Kinsley Johnson and Jen Hinkle collected consecutive hits leading off the final frame. Riley Strange drew a walk, loading the bases with nobody out. Daniela Dooley came through with a two run single. Dooley was 3-5 with three runs scored and two batted in.
Kaitlin Campbell drove in a run with a ground out. Dooley scored on a wild pitch, giving Knox County some breathing room and a 14-9 lead. Kinsley Johnson set the Hornets down in order in the seventh inning.
Westran had nine runs on 13 hits unofficially. Dylan Perry was 3-4 with two Hornet hits. Ireland Chapman pitched four and a third innings for Westran with four strikeouts and two walks with a hit batsman. Chapman was charged with 13 runs on 15 hits.
Maddy Harvey pitched two and a third innings with two strikeouts on four hits and one walk. Harvey was struck with a line drive up the middle with two outs in the sixth inning. Harvey was able to return to the lineup as a batter.
Knox County scored 14 runs on 19 hits. Emily Carlson was 2-4 with an RBI. Kinsley Johnson went 3-5 with three runs scored from the KCHS leadoff spot. Kinsley Johnson was the winning pitcher allowing nine runs, six earned in seven innings pitched. Johnson struck out three with two walks.
“We are right there,” Knox County coach Lauren Dale said. “We are seeing the ball. We are having ten pitch at bats. Tonight was the night we finally found the gaps. We put some hits together. Riley (Strange) hit a home run tonight.”
“We have all been waiting for that moment.”