Lady Lancers’ pitching and defense stymies Cougars 4-1
Thursday, April 03, 2014 12:00 AM
By Jim Cox
Lincolnview hurler Ashley McClure delivers a pitch during the Lady Lancers’ 4-1 win at Van Wert on Wednesday evening. McClure limited the Lady Cougars to one run on two base hits during her 82-pitch performance. Lincolnview evens its record at 1-1 with the win. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Times Bulletin Correspondent
VAN WERT — If there’s a softball coach’s checklist, Lincolnview’s Kent McClure could check all the boxes — pitching, hitting, fielding — after Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Van Wert. The Lancers racked up eight hits, committed no errors, and got two-hit pitching from Ashley McClure to run their record to 1-1. Van Wert is also 1-1.
McClure gave up a first-inning run, but was only threatened once after that. She tossed only 82 pitches, of which 54 were strikes. She struck out just three, but walked only one and hit a batter.
“She had everything working tonight,” said Lancer coach Kent McClure. “Her off-speed pitches were working a little better, moving it around, kept them off balance. A really nice job, pitcher and catcher. I’m really pleased.”
Sophomore Brooke Brown gave the Cougars a gutsy performance in the circle. Her numbers were in sharp contrast to McClure’s — striking out nine, walking seven, and hitting five batters. Brown threw a whopping 181 pitches, including 100 strikes. She constantly worked her way out of trouble, stranding 19 Lancer baserunners.
“Brooke’s a sophomore, and she’s gonna be a good pitcher,” said Van Wert coach Mike McClure. “She needs to learn to hit her spots, especially with her fastball. It’s hard to set anything up because she’s all over with it, but she’s working really hard at it.”
Lincolnview got an unearned run in the top of the first. With one out, first baseman Macey Ashbaugh’s infield squibber was misplayed, putting her at first. Ashbaugh was then forced at second on a grounder by leftfielder Devan Springer. Shortstop Baylee Neate belted a fly ball to the base of the fence in left, where it was dropped, plating Springer. A hit batter and a walk followed, but a groundout ended the inning, leaving the bases full, a scenario which would be repeated in the second, third, and fourth innings.
The Cougars tied it in the bottom of the first on a leadoff walk to third baseman Alyssa Bowen, sacrifice bunt by second baseman Tiffany Ricketts, and ground ball single up the middle by shortstop Saige Royer.
The Lancers made it 2-1 in the top of the second on a walk to second baseman Mikenna Klinger, hit batter (Macey Ashaugh), and line single to left by Springer. Brown then nailed Neate with a pitch to fill the bags, but Lincolnview did no further damage.
Lincolnview left the bases loaded in the third and fourth and didn’t score in either, but they broke through with two runs in the fifth. With one out, centerfielder Autumn Proctor walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Macey Ashbaugh drove Proctor in by lining a single up the middle. Spinger lined sharply to short for the second out, but Neate crushed a single off the third baseman’s glove, putting runners at the corners. Catcher Julia Thatcher drove in Ashbaugh with a single through the third/short hole to up the margin to 4-1.
In the meantime, McClure was cruising through the second, third, and fourth innings, allowing only one baserunner, that on a hit batter. The Cougars did hit the ball hard on several occasions, but to no avail. Bowen led off the fifth with a smash off the third baseman’s glove, then made it to third on a passed ball and flyout to deep center by Ricketts, but got no farther.
Lincolnview threatened again in the sixth and seventh, but didn’t score in either frame, leaving five more runners on the bags. McClure retired Van Wert in order in the last of the seventh.
Thatcher was the only batter on either team with multiple hits, going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Springer and Macey Ashbaugh each went 1-for-4, with one run and one RBI. Royer led Van Wert, going 1-for-3 with an RBI.
“Our bats woke up, and we didn’t have an error, very solid,” said Kent McClure. “Autumn Proctor made some great running catches. We put it together tonight. Hopefully, we’re back on track.”
Mike McClure was not at all discouraged about the loss suffered by his young team. “We have a lot of potential,” he said. “We hit the ball really hard several times, but it was right at ‘em. It’s only the second game of the season.”
Score by innings: R H E
Lincolnview 110 020 0- 4 8 0
Van Wert 100 000 0- 1 2 3
Proctor cf 3-1-0-0, Macey Ashbaugh 1b 4-1-1-1, Springer lf 4-1-1-1, Neate ss 2-0-1-0, Thatcher c 4-0-3-1, Mohr 3b 3-0-0-0, Macala Ashbaugh dp 5-0-1-0, Klinger 2b 4-1-0-0, McClure p 2-0-1-0, Craft pr 0-0-0-0, Longwell rf 0-0-0-0. Totals 31-4-8-3.
Van Wert (ab-r-h-rbi)
Bowen 3b 2-1-1-0, Ricketts 2b 2-0-0-0, Royer ss 3-0-1-1, White rf 3-0-0-0, Bair lf 3-0-0-0, Brown p 3-0-0-0, Stittsworth c 3-0-0-0, Rohrbacher 1b 1-0-0-0, Gordon dp 2-0-0-0, Hulbert cf 0-0-0-0. Totals 22-1-2-1.
Extra base hits: None.
LOB: Lincolnview 19, Van Wert 3.
WP: McClure. LP: Brown.