Pats outlast RaidersApril 30, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY — Southridge erased a 7-2 deficit Friday at Heritage Hills, but usually when the Raiders (7-7, 1-4) scored, the Patriots (9-6, 4-3) came right back in this Pocket Athletic Conference showdown.
Southridge tied it, 2-2, in the top of the fourth, but Heritage Hills came right back for five in the bottom half. The Raiders scored once in the top of the fifth, and rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth, but a single from sophomore Sarah Day that brought in fellow sophomore Jenna McDowell in the bottom half gave the Pats the lead for good. An insurance run brought the game to its final score of 9-7.“They really showed some grit by continuing to play offensively and have productive at-bats,” Heritage Hills coach Joe Asbury said. “Even when we didn’t have hits, we had productive at-bats for the most part. So, I was proud of them for that.”
“They put the ball in play,” Southridge coach Jason Songer said. “They did a good job with two strikes of just getting the bat on the ball and putting it in play. They had a few hits of just over the infield and in softball, sometimes that’s what it takes. Put the ball in play, make the defense work and it worked out for them tonight.”
Freshman pitcher Riley Schipp was on her game Friday when she recorded nine strikeouts against three walks. McDowell took over in the top of the fifth, but when Raiders junior Mikah Goeppner singled to lead off the top of the seventh, Asbury went back to Schipp to give her the opportunity to finish what she started.
Southridge had the tying run at the plate, but Schipp retired each of the next three batters to preserve the win. She had back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
“I just knew that we were up by two, and the runner didn’t really matter,” Schipp said. “So, I just needed to focus on hitting my spots so they didn’t get big hits.”
Schipp is just one of the almost entire group of underclassmen that dominate the Pats roster this year. They list two seniors on their roster in Mallory Garrison and Kyla Peter, plus a junior in Hannah Tapley. The rest are all freshmen and sophomores, but they’ve assembled a winning record to this point.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Asbury said. “They’re working really hard, they’re trying their best and sometimes we’re not playing our best, but it certainly ain’t from a lack of effort.”
For Southridge, this was a fall back to .500 in which the Raiders couldn’t get the lead despite working multiple times to tie the game.
“We’ve been working really hard on shortening up our swings and just attacking the ball,” Songer said. “I like to call it green light hitters, and the mindset is we’re going to see a strike every pitch...Bats are starting to come alive here towards the middle part of the year.”
Songer said the Raiders will spend today working on fundamentals and continuing to attack the ball. He’s of the opinion that the PAC is the best conference in the state, and they’ll get another look at a PAC foe Monday at home against South Spencer.
The calendar has now turned to May 1, with sectionals coming towards the end of the month.
“We talked about that last week — it’s a sectional push,” Songer said. “We’re starting to put girls in spots where we’re going to try and use them in sectional, and that way, we can get some familiarity with each other. And, we’re just going to have to grind. Softball is a tough season, and the girls are just going to have to grind the next few weeks.”
Heritage Hills, meanwhile, will be back at it today at Mt. Vernon to begin their new month. Asbury said his players need to approach their game against the Wildcats with the utmost seriousness and competitiveness.
“I hope that they feel like the process of getting better is a fun thing, and it’s a challenging thing,” Asbury said. “And I hope that they are wanting to continue to get better.”
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