VAN WERT – Van Wert came into Saturday’s doubleheader with nine wins, St. Henry with only one, so it looked like it would be a pair of mismatches. They weren’t. The first game was a well-played affair, dominated by Cougar pitcher Laine Spoor in a 5-0 Van Wert win. The second game was, to say the least, not a well-played affair, the Cougs barely holding on for a 16-14 win. Van Wert is now 11-6, St. Henry 1-14.
In the first game, the Redskins mounted minor threats in the first, fourth, and seventh innings, but Spoor’s pitching and some good defense behind her kept St. Henry in check. Spoor also made the defensive play of the game in the fourth inning. With one out and runners on first and second, St. Henry second baseman Robyn Lefeld blooped a 20-footer along the third baseline where Spoor made a diving shoestring catch, then doubled the runner off of second to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Cougars pounded out 11 hits off of the Redskins’ McKenna Buschur, but solid St. Henry defense prevented a blowout. Van Wert left ten runners on base.
The Cougar offense was led by catcher Katie Dickson (2 for 3, including a triple, two RBI), Spoor (2 for 4, one run), and first baseman Olivia Kline (2 for 3, one run).
In sharp contrast to the first game, the second was an ugly one. Although there was plenty of action – 30 runs and 32 hits – there were plenty of negatives as well – 15 unearned runs, 14 errors, 12 wild pitches, 22 runners left on base, and several baserunning mistakes – to name a few.
Van Wert had leads of 6-0 after one, 12-1 after two, and 15-2 after three. St. Henry committed six errors in the second inning alone. Starting in the top of the fourth, however, the momentum took a 180-degree swing. The Redskins played errorless ball from then on, pitcher Hannah Oakley was suddenly able to quiet the Cougar offense, and the St. Henry bats, aided by some shaky Van Wert defense, came alive.
Down 16-12 going into the seventh, four hits and two Van Wert errors closed the gap to 16-14 and had runners at first and third before reliever Lauren Moore managed to quell the comeback.
Outfielder Laine Spoor (4 for 5, including a double, three runs, one RBI), first baseman Olivia Kline (4 for 5, one run, one RBI) and DP/shortstop Alexis Metz (3 for 5, one run, two RBI) led Van Wert’s offense. The Cougs also got two hits apiece from Moore, starting pitcher Katie Coplin, centerfielder Adrianna Grothause, and second baseman Drew Kennedy.