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By David Sharp
Jen Hinkle tripled Myleigh Miller home for a 1-0 Knox County lead in September 28, 2022 varsity softball play at South Shelby. Both teams pressured the opponent’s defense until the fifth inning.
South Shelby scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth and held off a seventh inning rally for a 5-3 win over Knox County. Callie McWilliams was 2-4 with a Lady Bird run scored and two batted in.
Jen Hinkle led Knox County (12-8) with a 2-3 batting day with a run scored and another driven in. A somewhat inconsistent strike zone led to Knox County hurler Agnes Reel walking six along with seven strikeouts and five hits.
South Shelby (11-12) had runners in scoring position in the first two innings but failed to score. The Lady Eagles loaded the bases in the first inning with two out. Zoey Elliott induced a fly ball to third base ending the inning with no runs scored.
Both sides got on the board during their fifth inning. Jen Hinkle stroked a leadoff double in the Knox County fifth. Savanna Schrage singled Hinkle in for a 2-0 lead. Schrage later scored for a 3-0 Knox County edge midway through the fifth inning.
Kamryn Mitchell started a two out fifth inning rally by drawing a walk. Callie McWilliams and Zoey Elliott delivered back to back RBI hits for a 3-2 score in favor of Knox County after five full innings.
The Lady Eagles had runners in scoring position during the sixth and seventh innings and could not get the big hit. Hannah Wegman led off the South Shelby sixth inning with a walk.
Miranda Patterson bunted Wegman to second base. Cassidy Curtis stroked a hit. Summer Holt walked to fill the bases with one out. Sofia Eleazarraraz drew a bases loaded walk, tying the game at three runs each.
Kamryn Mitchell drove in a run with a fielder’s choice. Callie McWilliams plated another run with a hit. A strikeout and a fly ball to Bryston Miller stranded the bases full of Lady Birds.
Jen Hinkle drew a leadoff walk in the Knox County seventh inning. Zoey Elliott set the next three Lady Eagles down in order for the 5-3 win. Elliott went the seven inning distance, striking out six Lady Eagles on eight hits and two walks. Two of the three KCHS runs were earned.
“We have to back up our pitchers,” Knox County coach Lauren Dale said. “We have to score runs. You have to go out and fight. You have to go out and compete every night. We have got to make a better attempt at scoring runs.”
“We have won a lot of one run games that were really close. Some nights we are going to play teams that play travel ball,” Coach Dale said. “They are going to be able to hit pitchers and put the ball in play. That’s OK.”
“We have got to be able to make plays and back up our teammates. I didn’t think Agnes (Reel) looked bad. She looked like the Agnes that has been pitching all year and didn’t get some of the calls she has been getting.”
“It is what it is,” Dale said. “We have to be able to overcome adversity. It’s a game of failure. You hit .300 and you are a successful hitter. That’s the reality of the game. It’s hard for a reason. It makes you better.”
“We have got to beat the good teams to be a good team. I thought we put up a good fight. South Shelby is a good team. They have very quality wins on their record.”
“I saw my girls play really great defense,” South Shelby coach Sarah Elliott said. “We have pitchers that are going to get hit. If our defense can back them up and make the plays, then we can get the outs.”
“We are quick. We have good speed on the bases,” Coach Elliott said. “We try to use that to our advantage. The girls did a really good job of not letting being down get to them. They kept fighting back and won the ball game.”