5/23/2013 3:00:00 PM Kelsi Konkle powers, pitches
Lady Pacers to Sectional win
Switzerland County Lady Pacer softball players swarm freshman Kelsi Konkle at home plate to congratulate her on hitting a homerun in the bottom of the first inning in Monday night’s Sectional opener versus Southwestern. If the first homer made the Lady Pacers happy, they would be delirious by the end of the inning; as Susie Reyes also homered in the first; and Kelsi Konkle hit her second homerun in the first inning to open up the game.
After she gave up a run in the opening inning of Monday night's Sectional opener versus Southwestern, Switzerland County freshman pitcher Kelsi Konkle came off of the mound determined to not let that lead for the Lady Rebels stand up.
It lasted all of one batter.
And that batter? Kelsi Konkle.
Heading into Sectional play, coach Steven Konkle's Lady Pacers had not hit a home run all season.
That lasted all of one batter, also, as Kelsi Konkle, the leadoff hitter for Switzerland County in the bottom on the first, connected and launched a long homer over the leftcenter field fence that tied the game and sparked what would be an eight-run opening inning.
Ashley Watson was the second batter of the inning for the Lady Pacers, and after she singled to left, Lauren Edwards drew a base on balls to put two runners on.
Courtney Carfield and Shelby O'Neal couldn't plate the runners, but with two outs Susie Reyes connected and powered a three-run home run out of the park - the second of the inning and the season for Switzerland County.
Brooke Todd then hit a smash down the third base line for a single; and Vicky Abbott followed that with a single to left. Mikayla Turner's single up the middle scored Brooke Todd; and brought lead off hitter Kelsi Konkle back to the plate with two on and two out.
The freshman connected again, this time drilling a pitch out over the centerfield wall, and just like that Switzerland County held a commanding 8-1 lead in which the team hit three home runs before it made three outs.
The score stayed the same through the second and third innings; and Southwestern got back on the board in the top of the fourth Tyler Smith got on after hitting a hot shot back through the middle. Shaye Geer's sacrifice moved the runner to second; and with two outs Sarah Scholey hit a fly ball to leftfield that Susie Reyes couldn't come up with, scoring Tyler Smith.
The Lady Pacers responded in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to an unusual play.
Leadoff hitter Shelby O'Neal struck out to get things started, but the Southwestern catcher dropped the third strike pitch, forcing her to throw to first base. That throw was wild, and as the ball rolled out into rightfield, Shelby O'Neal ended up on second base.
Susie Reyes then drew a walk; and Brooke Todd sacrificed the runners to second and third with just one out.
Vicky Abbott then hit a rocket to the leftcenter field wall, scoring Shelby O'Neal, but pinch runner Samantha Christerson, subbing for Susie Reyes on the bases, was cut down at the plate for the second out. Mikayla Turner's flyout to center ended the inning.
Southwestern got a run back in the top of the fifth when Julia Vazquez singled to center and was sacrificed to second by Katie Conover. Josie Barnett's single then score Julia Vazquez; but any thought of a big inning was squashed when Austin Courtney hit into an inning-ending double play.
Up by six, the Lady Pacers looked to seal the win in the bottom of the fifth, again doing offensive damage with two outs.
After Kelsi Konkle and Ashley Watson made outs to start the frame, Lauren Edwards again drew a walk; and Courtney Carfield also got a base on balls to put two runners on. Shelby O'Neal then hit a grounder to third that saw the Rebel third baseman commit an error on, and the bases were loaded.
Susie Reyes then walked to plate Lauren Edwards; and with Brooke Todd at the plate, a passed ball on the Southwestern catcher allowed Courtney Carfield to score; and moments later a wild pitch allowed Shelby O'Neal to score.
Brooke Todd hit a laser to left that was flagged down for the final out of the inning, but Switzerland County had scored three more runs without getting a hit, and led 12-3.
Southwestern scored again in the top of the sixth, as Tyler Smith kicked things off with a walk.
She was out at second on a fielder's choice by Shaye Geer; who then stole a base and scored when Lady Pacer third baseman Shelby O'Neal was charged with an error on a ball hit by Sarah Scholey.
Switzerland County then settled down defensively, getting a strike out and a pop up to the shortstop to end the threat.
After Switzerland County failed to score in the bottom of the sixth, Southwestern came to the plate in the top of the seventh needing a miracle to extend the game, down 12-4.
Katie Conover opened the inning with a walk, and Josie Barrett followed that with a walk to put two runners on. The two Lady Rebel runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch; and both scored when Michela Brown singled to right.
Switzerland County again settled down defensively, getting Austin Courtney to ground out to third; Tyler Smith on a strikeout looking; and Shaye Geer ended the game when her liner to third was snagged by Shelby O'Neal.
Final score: Switzerland County 12, Southwestern 6.
The win allowed the Lady Pacers to advance in Sectional play, and matched them against South Ripley, who won the opening game on Monday night with a 9-3 decision over Austin.