LUCASVILLE – Valley’s 2018 and 2019 seasons have been, to be fair, like night and day.
A season ago, the Indians were district champions before falling by one run in the regional semifinals, a successful campaign by all measures. But, having just three returning players and the departure of a group of seniors who were staples on that district championship team changed the dynamics in Lucasville.
Thursday’s 10-0 five inning win for the Indians over West Union was the first game Valley has won this season, on senior night for the lone Indian senior Madison Williams, an extremely bright spot in an otherwise rebuilding season.
“The girls responded well tonight, they played for her,” said Valley head coach Monty Spriggs on his team’s performance. “They know what she’s been through and all the wins we’ve had in the last several years. They wanted her to go out as a winner tonight. We hit the ball, we played good defense, she threw strikes, and that’s the name of the game. I’m happy for her because she’s struggled at times this year and she’s not had a lot of help because we’re so young.”
Williams took the start on the mound for the Indians and allowed just four hits to Dragons batters while walking three batters. A big part of Valley holding West Union to no runs was, as Spriggs mentioned, Williams’ throwing strikes, but also the play of her defense behind her. Plays made by herself, third baseman Brooklyn Buckle, shortstop Kensie Spencer, and second baseman Lacey Stevens helped keep the Dragons’ scoring column blank in Thursday’s game.
“After you play Wheelersburg two nights in a row and they hit rockets at you, you can catch those slow ones,” Spriggs said. “They can play when they want to. They’re just so young and inexperienced that sometimes they don’t know what we’re doing. But they’re working hard at it and I appreciate their effort, and I hope they all return next year.”
Williams and Buckle also each finished with a team high two RBI in their 1/3 and 1/2 hitting respectively in Thursday’s game. Kylie Bell, Lexi Whitt, Lacey Stevens, and Anna Stevens each finished with an RBI each helping contribute to the Indians seven run bottom half of the third inning against West Union.
As the 2019 season winds to a close for Spriggs and his group of Indians, he’s hoping that the lessons from this season will carry over to encourage his team to put in the extra time, effort, and work ethic it takes to continue the winning successes the Indians have experienced in Spriggs’ tenure.
“We want to get back to the fundamentals. We’ve had some former players come in and say, ‘These are the things you need to do in the summers and the offseason.’ Coming from them, I think they understand it a lot better, that this is an eight month program and it takes a lot of work to build the kind of program we’ve had here in the past.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved