Wind played havoc with two 7A/6A-West games at Van Buren’s Pointers Softball Complex this week.
On Tuesday, a strong wind blew heavy from from left field to right field which turned several potential home runs into outs.
On Thursday, the wind blew straight out to center as Van Buren pounded out 13 hits, six for extra bases, in a 9-6 win against Rogers Heritage.
“We hit the ball like we have the first 14 games of the season,” Pointers coach Andy Williams said. “We left a few runners on late and against Heritage, it almost cost us.”
The Pointers (15-3, 4-0) built a 9-1 lead through six innings before the Lady War Eagles (8-9, 2-3) rallied for five runs in the seventh. Heritage had the tying run at the plate when Tori Stafford struck out Sabrina Garcia to end the game.
“This is the third straight time we have played them over the last two years where both teams battle to the final out,” Williams said. “We had to hold them off last year and in the second game, we had to score four runs in the seventh to beat them. No matter how big a lead is, both teams are going to find a way to rally back until the twenty-first out is recorded.”
The Lady War Eagles got a run in the first inning when Kenzi Ziem singled, stole second and scored on an throwing error on Dasha Donahoe’s infield single. The Heritage lead, though, did not last long as the Pointers scored four times in the bottom of the first to seize control of the game.
Breanna Vest lead off with a walk and scored on Ashtson Sangster’s two-run homer to left-center, which gave Van Buren the lead for good at 2-1. Austyn Deere and Baylor Miles each added RBI hits in the inning.
The Lady War Eagles had scoring opportunities in the second, but great defense by the Pointers ended both threats. With runners at third with one out, third baseman Destiny Moses scooped a grounder down the line and tagged the runner out. One batter later, center fielder Ashley Deffenbaugh threw a one-bounce strike to catcher Miles, who tagged the runner out at the plate to end the inning.
“If we don’t make those plays, it is a 4-3 in the second and the tone of the game changes,” Williams said. “We played well defensively all game long. Both teams can swing the bat well.”
Heritage coach Tifffany Taylor said the four-run rally in the first was just as devastating as losing the scoring opportunities in the second inning.
“We had some early momentum and then they score four runs,” Taylor said. “This has been a tough week. We feel like a major league team playing three (conference) games in three days.”
A two-run single by Emilee Aaron and another RBI double by Miles blew the game open for a 7-1 Van Buren lead in the fifth inning. A solo homer by Sangster and a run-scoring grounder by Miles made the score 9-1 through six innings. Sangster, Miles and Stafford each had three hits.