By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW SITE – Hamilton coach Bryan Loague wasn’t comfortable with his team’s one-run lead headed into the top of the seventh inning of Saturday’s 2A fastpitch playoff game against New Site.
“I told my players before the inning we had to have an insurance run,” he said.
Cheyenne Logan provided the run for the Lady Lions with an RBI triple that eventually lifted her team to a 4-3 road victory in the opening game of a best-of-three play-in series.
The second game between the Lady Lions (13-12-1) and Lady Royals (14-7) is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday in Hamilton. A third game, if necessary, would follow.
“I was looking for an outside pitch, something I could hit to the gap,” said Logan, the Lions’ pitcher. “They had been giving us that gap (in right-center) all day. It was time for me to step up.”
Logan’s hit plated Raimi Bryan, who reached on an infield single just moments before.
New Site, down 4-2, scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Shelby Stricklen hit a two-out triple to right field and scored on a throwing error.
The Lady Royals collected nine hits off Logan, but stranded 10 base runners.
“We had bases loaded twice, one hit would have made the difference,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “We had kids on base. We’ve got to have somebody come through for us.”
Logan, who had ankle surgery in October following slowpitch season, says she is just now starting to pitch to her potential. She recorded eight strikeouts and walked five.
“I was focused early, but got frustrated on some calls later,” she said. “My team is depending on me to be the pitcher.
“I’m getting back to where I used to be. I push myself hard. I know I need to step up.”
Hamilton took a 2-0 lead in the third on Taylor Hyland’s triple and a sacrifice fly by Bryan.
New Site answered with one in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Taylor Barnes. Singles by Grace Elliott and Molly Walden produced a second run for the Royals in the sixth.
Hamilton scored its third run on a sac fly by Logan in the fifth.