Ads make little plays to beat Casey

May 25, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Little things made a big difference for Danville.

Eighth-grader Chelsea Wallace pitched her way out of two bases-loaded, no-out situations by allowing just one run. Third baseman Renee Chiu picked off a runner at third base.

Offensively, Danville got a home run and run-producing single from Monica Vonderbrink along with a hit from Liz Ruth, the No. 9 hitter, that plated the game's first run.

Combine those factors with several costly Casey County errors and Danville had a 5-2 win in the opening game of the 45th District Tournament here Monday. The Admirals (19-16) will play the winner of tonight's Boyle County-Lincoln County game for the district championship Thursday. However, Monday's win automatically sends Danville to the 12th Region Tournament for the third straight year.


"As long as we win, that's all that matters," said Vonderbrink, a senior shortstop.

"Casey County didn't get the timely hits and we did," Danville coach Jerry Perry said. "We were able to get some key outs when we really needed them.

"We've lost our share of games like this. We've lost six games either in the final at-bat or by one run. That could be why we didn't get uptight. We are used to playing in these pressure-packed situations because of the good schedule we played this year."

There were some anxious moments

Still, the Admirals had some anxious moments before securing the win.

Wallace struck out four, walked three and allowed only five hits and had a 5-1 lead going to the seventh before Kelli Patton and Lindsay Wilson hit back-to-back infield singles that eluded Wallace. A walk to Tori Clements loaded the bases with no outs.

Wallace got out of a similar jam in the fifth when Chiu threw out a runner at home, Felicia Luttrell popped out to Vonderbrink and Laura Wilson struck out.

This time Lesli Grider lined a shot to center field, but Amber Wood made the catch for the first out. Luttrell's ground out to Wallace got one run home before Wallace struck Laura Wilson out to end the game as well as Casey's season.

"We had a lot of opportunities with our best hitters at the plate, but we didn't capitalize on them," Stephens said. "Danville also made some good plays to take us out of innings. We also made several throwing errors we don't normally make that really hurt us."

Lindsay Wilson opened the game with an infield single, moved to second on a ground out and came to third on a passed ball. Grider bunted toward third. Chiu fielded the ball, faked a throw to first and threw to Vonderbrink covering third to get Wilson out. Luttrell followed with a deep fly to center that would have scored a run.

"Any time you throw a runner out at third or home, it's huge," Perry said.

"One run means a lot in a game like this and we let one get away," Stephens said. "Softball is such a game of momentum and that took the momentum away from us."

Danville got the lead in the second when Kelly Embree walked with one out, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan Young and scored on Ruth's hit.

"You can't execute any better than that and when you get a big hit from your No. 9 hitter, it helps your whole team," Perry said.

Casey ties game after thunder delay

After a 30-minute thunder delay, Casey (16-12) tied the game in the third thanks in part to two errors by Vonderbrink. However, she quickly atoned for those miscues with a home run to left center leading off the bottom of the inning off losing pitcher Kayla Buis. Embree's single later scored Wood, who had singled and gone to third when the ball got loose in the outfield.

Two more errors gave Danville another run in the fourth and a 4-1 lead. Danville's final run came in the sixth when Chiu reached base on an error and scored on Vonderbrink's single to left.

"I've always been told not to try and crush the ball, so I was just trying to hit it hard on my home run," Vonderbrink said. "I popped out my next time because I was trying too hard, but that last single really helped my confidence because I relaxed and did what I was supposed to do."

Perry is glad the pressure to get back to the region is off his team.

"I gave them Friday and Saturday off because I felt they were too tight and just needed to get away from softball," Perry said. "They needed to relax because I knew Casey had improved more from the start of the season to now than any team around. But we came back focused and really got a good win."

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