SOUTH WEBSTER – If there’s much more you can ask from a team, it’s quite unclear what that “more” is in the case of the South Webster Jeeps in their home SOC II battle with Oak Hill Wednesday night. South Webster tied things up with Oak Hill at 3-3 after an early three run deficit in the first two innings, a testament to their resiliency.
But, in the tenth inning, Oak Hill broke the long six inning tie of 3-3 with a leadoff solo home run by all-state junior Caitlyn Brisker, followed by three more runs scored on three errors to open things up at 7-3, a deficit the Jeeps would not recover from, falling to the Oaks 7-4 in ten innings.
“We had good fielding, two errors through nine innings and then had three errors in the tenth inning, and that’s really the difference in the game” said South Webster head coach Andy Messer following the loss. “It was neck and neck the whole time. Brisker comes up and gets the home run and we commit those errors, that’s your ball game. Proud of our girls though. They came out and hit the ball well. [Kailey] Adkins is a good pitcher for Oak Hill, always has been.”
Oak Hill scored a run in the first and two runs in the second on an RBI single by Desirae Sharp and an error which brought home two Oaks runners.
But from that point on, South Webster was locked in. They scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie things up at 3-3: the first off an error and the final two off a two out two RBI opposite field double by junior Baylee Cox.
“We’ve been trying to teach the girls all season long to keep battling, and it’s never really came through, until tonight,” Messer said. “They didn’t lay down, and even in that last inning when we were down four runs, they kept battling and kept hitting and I saw an effort from them that I’m very proud of tonight.”
Innings four through nine would be scoreless, for both teams. As the game progressed, both pitchers made the pitches necessary to get out of any jam created and both defenses made the necessary plays to give their team a chance to win.
Oak Hill’s four runs scored in the top half of the tenth were too much for the Jeeps to overcome Wednesday night, but Emma Bailey’s solo homerun in the bottom of the seventh helped bring things that much closer for the Jeeps in their comeback attempt.
Messer’s daughter, Gwen Messer, took the mound for the Jeeps in the loss, pitching all ten innings allowing eight hits, just two earned runs, and striking out fourteen Oaks batters in the complete game performance.
South Webster falls to 13-11 following Wednesday’s result, but that shouldn’t necessarily be a testament to how the Jeeps have fared this season. The Jeeps, along with Valley, are the lone Division IV team in the SOC II and have had close contests with Oak Hill and Minford, two of the top four teams in the conference. Messer is hoping that games like Wednesday, and the night in night out grind of the SOC II will help better prepare his team for their upcoming Division IV postseason run which begins in just a week and a half.
“Our conference schedule is tough, it’s a grind every day,” Messer said. “I tell everybody that. Our record might show that we’ve struggled this season, but when you play Oak Hill, Wheelersburg, Minford, and Waverly three times a week, that’s tough. It does prepare you for tournament play though. This season we’re 8-1 against D4 teams, so I think we should fair decently well in the tournament. Hope that we at least get a couple wins in the tournament and we carry on from there.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved