PEDRO, Ohio – The Valley Lady Indians softball team wasted little time jumping into the 2016 season. After holding off Coal Grove in their first game of the year, Valley took a short break and hit the diamond again to take on the Chesapeake Panthers.
The Lady Indians put forth a valiant effort Saturday afternoon against the Lady Panthers, but wound up a few runs shy of victory, as they were defeated by Chesapeake 5-3 after a full seven innings.
“We had some really good positive things that happened, and of course a few negative, but that goes with it being early in the season,” Valley Softball coach Tim Brown said. “These girls just have to start trusting each other. It will all start working.”
Faith Brown took the mound for the Lady Indians in their quest to sleigh the Panthers. Brown would have a rough start to the game, as the Chesapeake bats were able to zone in on her pitches.
The Lady Panthers were able to put together six hits, and pick up four runs in the process, in the top of the first inning.
Valley would answer the Panthers’ first inning’s runs with a pair of their own.
Kirbi Sommers prevented a three up and three down inning after hitting a double to left-center field. Amber Altman added a double of her own immediately after, bringing in Sommers.
Brown would drive in the second Valley run of the first inning with a single, before recording the third out in an attempt to advance to second base.
After driving in a run at the end of the first, Brown retook the mound and pitched with a purpose in the second inning.
Valley picked up two straight ground outs to start the second, before giving up a double. Shortly after, Brown injured her ankle while rushing the plate to backup Sommers, while she tried to catch a foul ball.
Brown would leave the game in obvious pain, and unable to put pressure on her injured ankle. She would not return to the game.
Altman would come in to replace Brown on the mound.
Chesapeake would pick up one run after an RBI single. Their inning would end after Altman struck out the next batter, to end the top of the second.
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the second, Valley would cut Chesapeake’s lead by a run, 5-3, as Margie Cauldwell drove in Marissa Markins with an RBI double.
Altman’s relief pitching held Chesapeake scoreless throughout the rest of the game, keeping her team within striking distance of the Panthers.
The Lady Indians had a few opportunities to bring cut into, or even erase the Chesapeake lead, but were unable to capitalize.
After reaching on a double, and then advancing to third after a passed ball, Sommers would be thrown out at the plate, in an attempt to score in the bottom of the fifth.
In the following inning Valley had a great start, and looked like they would add a run or more to the scoreboard.
Destiny Gardner started the inning with a double, which was then followed up by a single by Hannah Conley. The bases would then be loaded after Keana Schackart was hit by a Chesapeake pitch.
With the bases loaded and no outs, the Lady Indians were threatening to score. However, it just wasn’t meant to be for Valley, as the Lady Indians surrendered three outs by the next three batters to end the inning.
The seventh inning resulted no runs as well for Valley, as they lost 5-3 to Chesapeake after the final out of the inning was recorded.
“We’re hitting the ball, but we’re not hitting the ball with runners in scoring position,” Brown said. “Four times today I had runners on at least second or third with less than two outs, and we didn’t get the job done.”
Brown acknowledged the season is very young and noted his team has talent.
“I have hitters,” Brown said. “I’ve got good players, but they’re just not thinking right now. I contribute that to the fact it’s the second game of the season, and we’ve only had one scrimmage.”
Brown knows it will take some time to get everything right, and that his girls will need to get a little more self confidence.
Brown also sang the praises of Madison Williams for her adaption to the outfield, after never playing there.
“She’s always played second base,” Brown said. “She went out there and got me a base hit, and had another hit.”
Valley – 1-1
Chesapeake – 1-1
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.