Lady Pacers roll over Austin for Sectional win, 11-1

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Led by a big five-run fourth inning and shortstop Taylar Jordan’s inside the park home run in the fifth inning, Coach Steven Konkle’s Lady Pacer softball team advanced in Sectional play on Monday night with an 11-1 win over Austin.

Kelsi Konkle was spectacular on the mound, striking out 13 and allowing just four hits and one walk. Austin’s run was unearned.

Switzerland County got the offense rolling in the bottom of the first inning, as Hope Tankersley and Brooke Todd each opened the inning with walks. Tankersley would eventually score on a passed ball; and Todd would score on an RBI single by Bre Braun.

The two-run lead would hold up through the second; and Austin got its lone run of the game in the top of the third, when Elizabeth Vires doubled to leftfield and then scored on two consecutive Switzerland County errors.

Austin would threaten again in the top of the fourth as Quincy Jeffries and Brooklyn Simms each had back to back one out singles.

That didn’t phase Konkle, who ignored the two base runners and got Rachel Amos and Brittany Vires on back to back strikeouts to end the threat.

Switzerland County had its big offensive explosion in the bottom of the fourth, as McKenna Edwards drew a walk to start the inning, and was replaced by runner Kaylee Wetzel. Baylie Scudder then sacrificed Wetzel to second; and Kassedy Murray ripped an RBI single to leftfield.

Alysa Parr ran for Murray, and Taylar Jordan reached on an error by the Austin leftfielder.

Brittney Yocum then cleared the bases with a two RBI triple; and she later scored on a passed ball.

Tankersley reached on a walk and promptly stole second; then moved on to third and eventually scored on another Austin passed ball.

After scoring five runs in the fourth and taking a 7-1 lead, with threatening skies above and rain feared, Switzerland County went to work to close the game under the 10 run rule.

Austin tried to mount a charge, putting two runners on base in the top of the fifth; but again Konkle picked up a huge strikeout to end that challenge.

More runs came in the bottom of the fifth, when with one out Scudder singled to centerfield and Murray was hit by a pitch to put two runners on.

Jordan then picked a perfect pitch and ripped a laser past the leftfielder, and against the fence, and by the time the Austin fielder got to the ball, the speedy Jordan had raced around the bases for a three-run, inside the park home run.

That put the Lady Pacers up by nine, and Switzerland County needed just one more run to end the game early. That didn’t happen, in spite of Yocum and Tankersley both reaching base, but the game was still well in hand.

Austin again posted a threat in the top of the sixth, as Jeffries reached on a single and made her way to second. Amos then grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Jeffries being tagged out; and Amos advanced to second on a single by Brittany Vires. That threat went away when Elizabeth Vires grounded to first baseman Scudder.

Needing a run, Lady Pacer Kayla Jordan opened the bottom of the sixth with a stinging double to leftfield. Emma Dornbusch ran for her, and with one out Scudder rifled a single to left, and when the leftfielder misplayed the hit, Dornbusch scored to made the advantage 10 runs after five innings, and the Lady Pacers advanced in Sectional play.

Pending weather, Switzerland County was due to play Milan in Wednesday night’s first game (Milan came from behind to defeat North Decatur in Monday’s first game, 12-6); and the second semifinal was to see Southwestern take on South Ripley.

If play stays on schedule, the championship game of the Sectional will be played on the Lady Pacer field tonight (Thursday) beginning at 6 p.m.