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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Sports Writer
The Washington County Commanderettes used a nine-run rally to come from behind to beat the Bethlehem Banshees 11-9 Monday night to advance to the district finals on Tuesday.
The win also assures them of a slot in the regional tournament.
The Banshees took the early lead, going up 4-1 in the second inning. The Commanderettes added a run in the fourth as Meagan Spalding scored on a sacrifice by Olivia Thompson.
Bethlehem answered with three runs on two hits in the fifth.
Washington County was down 7-2 going into the bottom of the sixth. Junior first baseman Pooh Railey led off the rally with a solo home run to dead center.
Amber Taylor reached on an error, followed by a single by Spalding. Samantha Seger then doubled, and Natalie Maupin and Jaclyn Kelty followed with singles, making it 7-6. The rally continued when Linda Libby reached on an error, then Kelly Hill singled. Railey came to the plate again and was hit by a pitch, followed by Taylor and Spalding who reached on errors. When the dust settled and the rally was over, the Commanderettes were on top, 11-7.
Bethlehem plated two runs in the seventh but were stopped short of a comeback as the Commanderettes held on for the first round win, 11-9.
WC junior pitcher Kelly Hill went the distance, allowing three hits and 15 walks while striking out 10 Banshees.
Thompson led Washington County with three RBIs, following by two from both Hill and Jaclyn Kelty. Railey and Seger each had one RBI.
Hill and Spalding had a pair of hits each, while Railey, Seger, Kelty, Taylor, Libby and Natalie Maupin had one hit apeice.
“It was an interesting game,” said Commanderette head coach Christy Baker. “The girls never gave up, and they never lost faith. We finally started hitting the ball, and we pulled it out.”
The first-round win over Bethlehem sets up a championship match against Nelson County on Tuesday evening. The Lady Cards have beaten the Commanderettes all three times the teams have met this year. Baker believes anything can happen, and that the team has the talent to pull off the upset.
“I know we can do it, I know the girls can do it, it’s just a matter of them believing they can do it,” Baker added. “Nelson County is a good team, but if we bring our bats and our minds, we can do it.”
The Springfield Sun went to press before Tuesday night’s district championship game. For results and the latest on both Washington County baseball and softball district title quests, visit www.readthesun.com on the Internet and pick up next week’s issue of The Springfield Sun for district highlights and photos.
It was a big win to start tournament play, but the Commanderettes ended the regular season with a three-game losing streak.
It was a tough week for WC as they lost 8-3 to Marion County in Lebanon on May 11. The Lady Knights jumped out to an 8-0 lead before the Commanderettes finally got on the board with one run in the bottom of the fifth. WC got two more in the bottom of the seventh, but it was too little, too late as Marion got the win.
Hill led WC with three of the squad’s eight hits on the day. Railey had a pair of hits while Thompson, Seger and Maupin had one each.
Hill pitched into the sixth inning, giving up two hits while punching out six and walking 12. She was relieved by Hannah Simms, who allowed no hits while striking out two and walking two.
In JV action against Marion County, the Commanderettes lost 8-1. The JV Lady Knights scored eight runs through the fourth inning before the Commanderettes plated one in the bottom of the fourth. That’s the way it ended as Marion swept the Commanderettes.
Simms started for WC on the mound, allowing five hits while striking out four and walking two. Hannah Coulter took over for Simms in the fourth, allowing no hits or walks while striking out two.
Simms led WC at the plate with three hits, while Libby, Daphne White and Jenna Taylor had a hit each.
The next day, it was off to Greensburg for the Commanderettes, who dropped their game against the Lady Dragons 12-2 in five innings.
Sophomore Kelty led WC with two RBI on one hit, while Seger and Spalding had a hit apiece.
After a day off, the Commanderettes closed out the regular season at home with a 13-3 loss to E-Town in six innings.
The Panthers took an early 2-0 lead, but WC tied it up in the third. E-Town regained the lead for good in the fifth and used a seven-run rally in the sixth to jump out to a 13-3 lead, hanging on for the win.
Hill pitched six innings, allowing eight hits and 11 walks while whiffing eight. WC totaled six hits, led by Railey with three hits and one RBI, while Hill had a pair of hits. Libby also added a hit.
The Commanderettes finish the year at 13-17 overall, 4-3 in regular season district play.
“The regular season went pretty well,” said Baker. “I was pleased with most of it. A lot of games we lost by maybe one or two runs. In different situations, there were a couple errors that can make the difference in the whole thing, or we weren’t hitting. The season is up and down and what you learn from it, you bring it to district.”