CHILLICOTHE- The Valley Lady Indians defeated the Zane Trace Pioneers by a score of 7-1 Thursday evening to advance to the district championship game, where they will face off against Wheelersburg.
The Indians jumped out to an early lead against the Pioneers. Keanna Shackart, Destiny Gardner and Margie Cauldwell all brought home runs in the first, taking a 5-0 advantage.
Despite hitting eighth, Cauldwell was the MVP of the game for the Indians, as she went 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base, and three RBI.
“Two times today I put Margie in a situation where I had her fake bunt,” said Valley Head Coach Tim Brown. “It put her in the hole with a couple strikes. Despite that, she managed to put it in play and in a big way for us. It doesn’t matter how hard you hit the ball, as long as you are getting on base that’s what matters.”
Valley had no errors or walks in the entire game. It shows as a testament to their mental preparation according to Brown.
“We did the little things right tonight,” Brown said. “We didn’t make mistakes and we had some big plays in the field. We managed to catch a girl trying to steal second, and the outfield was really solid. Maddie Kuhn made a great diving play at the start of the fifth inning, too.”
Valley’s offense did slow down after a reliever came in for Zane Trace.
“We got a bit complacent,” Brown said. “The new girl came in and threw off our rhythm a bit. But, in the end you still have to come out and execute. We managed to execute early luckily and we came out with a 7-1 win.”
Amber Altman took the mound for the Indians and had a solid outing. She gave up seven, spread out hits with two walks, a single run and three strike outs.
“Amber pitched a good game tonight,” Brown said. “All her pitches were working for her. I do want to give Zane Trace some credit, though. They had to take their pitcher out because of medical issues and their reliever did a really nice job both on the mound and at the plate. They have a good coach, and they had a good season.”
Going into their next game, Brown knows he has his work cut out for him with Wheelersburg. He knows his girls must execute, continue to play mistake free softball, and have command of the strike zone.
“My job as a coach is to read batters and figure out how to get them off balance,” Brown said. “That’s what I tried to do tonight. Saturday, we go out and play Wheelersburg. My job is to try to beat them. We have to do what we did tonight, hit the ball and hit our spots on the mound. You can’t just pound the strike zone against those great hitters. You have to change speeds and you have to play with the strike zone.
“Anyone is beatable on any given night. We just have to go play our game.”
The Lady Indians hope the third time is the charm Saturday, when they face off against the Pirates at Unioto Field at 1:00 p.m.
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