Lady Cougars keep WBL title hopes alive with rout of Elida

VAN WERT — The Van Wert Lady Cougars welcomed the Elida Lady Bulldogs to Jubilee Park for Western Buckeye League girls softball action on Friday. The Lady Cougars used an 11-run third frame to pick up an 18-5 victory.

The Lady Bulldogs (4-9, 1-4 WBL) came into the match up against Van Wert without their top two starting pitchers. Elida used four pitchers on the night against the Lady Cougars.

Van Wert (8-2, 6-1) got a five run first inning as five of the first six Lady Cougars batters worked a base on balls. Grace Kline and Olivia Kline picked up RBIs in the bottom of the first with base hits to left field to give Van Wert a 5-0 lead.

Van Wert tacked on a run in the bottom of the second inning as Alexis Metz walked and scored on a single from Adrianna Grothause to put the Lady Cougars up 6-0.

In the bottom of the third, Van Wert sent 14 batters to the plate as all nine hitters scored a run in the frame. The big highlight of the inning was a base loaded double from Olivia Kline that cleared the bases to put Van Wert up 16-0.

In the top of the fourth, Van Wert gave Jaden Wagner her first chance in the circle in her varsity career. Wagner retired two of the first three batters in the fourth but Elida was able to get a two out rally going.

The Lady Dawgs scored their two runs on a single from Neveah Vorhees who later scored on a Van Wert error to bring the score to 17-4.

The Lady Cougars picked up run in the bottom of the fourth and Elida also got a run in the top of the fifth with a RBI single from Morgan Klett, 18-5.

Van Wert currently sits tied for second in the league standings, behind Defiance (6-0). Wapakoneta, which owns a win over Van Wert this season, is also 6-1 in league games.

“I talked with the girls this week about how it was going to be a challenge but how we could still win at least a share of the WBL title. We have a tough two games left with Bath on the road before we come home and play Defiance. Both games are going to be an uphill battle, but if we play hard hopefully we can come away with a WBL title,” said Van Wert softball coach Greg Steinecker.

The Lady Cougars have never won a WBL softball championship.

Van Wert will welcome Parkway to Jubilee Park on Monday before traveling to Lima Bath on Tuesday.