Raiders victorious in Genet's return

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Southridge's Lydia Genet throws a pitch during Monday's softball game against Springs Valley in Huntingburg. The Southridge Raiders defeated Springs Valley 13-3 in five innings as Genet made her first appearance on a softball mound since her freshman year. Genet, who transferred to Southridge from Heritage Hills at the beginning of this school year, has battled back from several injuries and setbacks to return to the diamond.


HUNTINGBURG — After some setbacks over the past few years, Lydia Genet was unsure if she’d step foot on a softball diamond ever again.

But after several surgeries and a move to an entire new high school, Genet finally found herself back at one of the places where she feels the most comfortable — the pitcher’s mound.

“Just being able to play softball at all is crazy to me because it’s been almost three whole years,” said Genet, who was the winning pitcher for Southridge in Monday night’s 13-3 victory over Springs Valley. “I was a little nervous but I got over that in like the second inning.”

Genet transferred to Southridge at the beginning of her senior year after spending the past three years at Heritage Hills where she was a standout soccer player for the Patriots.

She played softball at Heritage Hills her freshman year but after that, injuries began to derail her high school career.

“I had broken my left arm like six times and that’s my pitching arm so I had to have surgery,” Genet said. “I went through times last year where I wanted to play softball but once I tried to pitch, I felt my arm started to go numb. I was kind of scared that was going to happen again this year but I’m over it now — knock on wood — I don’t want to risk breaking it again.”

In three innings of work for the Raiders, Genet gave up just three hits while striking out two batters.

Southridge head coach Scott Buening, making his Raider softball coaching debut after previous varsity coaching experience at East Central and Evansville Harrison, was impressed with what he saw from Genet.

“What’s most important is how well she’s able to mesh with her teammates,” Buening said. “Sure, you have to have the physical traits and skills but her teammates also have to be able to believe and trust in her.”

One of her best performances came at the end of the third inning after giving up to singles to Springs Valley’s Mika Deel and Ellison Burton to start the inning. After hitting Hailey Goldman with a pitch with just one out, the Blackhawks found themselves with the bases loaded. However, Genet was able to calm things down by forcing a flyout and a strikeout to keep Springs Valley (0-1) at bay.

“That can do a lot for confidence,” said Genet, about knowing she has the ability to get out of sticky situations. “They could’ve potentially got four runs so you have to have the confidence to strike them out or get them out or else, they’re going to get on (base).”

While Genet and Briley King (who pitched two innings and gave up just two hits) held the Raiders down defensively on the mound, there was no denying that Southridge’s bats came to play.

After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, Southridge (1-0) bounded back with a double from Maddie Songer who was later brought in to score on a two-run home run from Kennedy Nalley to put the Raiders ahead 2-1.

“I was waiting for (the pitcher) to throw one I could hit,” Nalley said. “Right when I saw the pitch and hit it, I knew it was gone.”

Buening added: “She just stepped right up to the plate and hit it over 250 feet.”

Southridge's Peyton Nalley, right, congratulates her sister Kennedy Nalley after she hit a two-run home run during Monday's girls softball game against Springs Valley in Huntingburg. Kennedy had four RBIs in the victory while Peyton also drove in a run in the win.

The Raiders biggest inning was the second inning as eight runs came home to score to put Southridge up 10-1.

Peyton Nalley got things started with an RBI single to score Macie Marley then Songer followed with a two-RBI triple and Kennedy Nalley immediately answered that with an RBI single as Southridge was up 6-1. After a wild pitch made it 7-1, Megan Buechler’s RBI double and Genet’s RBI triple helped to put the Raiders ahead 10-1 going into the third inning.

Southridge did have some more offense in the third inning as Songer’s RBI double, Kennedy nalley’s RBI triple and Rachel Trent’s RBI flyout made it 13-1.

The Blackhawks did score two runs in the fifth inning but King shut the door by forcing a flyout with a runner on second to end the game in five innings.

Kennedy Nalley finished with four RBI’s on a home run and a triple while Songer had three RBIs on a triple and two doubles.

Buening was ecstatic to be able to get back on the diamond to coach one of the games he loves the most.

“I’ve always loved this sport — my first year in student teaching at East Central is when I coached for the first time and I learned so much,” Buening said. “It was great to be back out there.”

While the Raiders are grateful to start the season out on a high note, they know that they have to stay grounded as the season progresses.

“It gives us confidence but we’re also not going to have big heads about it,” Genet said. “Every game is a big game and we have just as hard as this and not overlook anyone. Just because we win one doesn’t mean we’re going to win them all.”

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