5/23/2013 3:00:00 PM Lady Pacers defeat South Ripley, 5-2
The Switzerland County Lady Pacers advanced to the championship game of the Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday night with a 5-2 win over conference rival South Ripley.
It was a closely-fought battle throughout the seven innings, with South Ripley striking first with a run in the top of the second inning.
Hayley Schwarte led off the inning with a single, and one out later Julia Sizemore hit a grounder to Lady Pacer first baseman Lauren Edwards, who tried to get the lead runner, but couldn't.
With two outs, Lady Raider Mercedes Bowling singled to left bringing in Hayley Schwarte, and with two runners on Switzerland County escaped more damage when Julia Sizemore was cut down at the plate trying to score after a wild pitch.
Switzerland County got that run back in the bottom of the second, as Shelby O'Neal led off with a single to left. One out later, Brooke Todd struck out, but the ball got away from the South Ripley catcher, allowing her to reach first safely .
Both Lady Pacer runners then moved up on a passed ball; and Vicky Abbott's hard grounder to second scored Shelby O'Neal.
South Ripley came right back in the top of the third to again take a lead, when with two outs Allie Linkmeyer singled to leftfield and advanced to third on a stolen base and a passed ball. Allie Sexton then singled her home.
The top of the third ended on an outstanding defensive play by Switzerland County shortstop Kelsi Konkle, as she fielded a hot smash by Hayley Schwarte up the middle and then dove to the second base bag for the forceout on Allie Sexton.
The Switzerland County bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth, taking a lead that the squad would not relinquish.
With one out, catcher Susie Reyes was hit by a pitch, and was replaced at first base by courtesy runner LoriAn Lozier.
Brooke Todd laid down a perfect sacrifice and then beat the throw to first for a single, and a wild pitch allowed both runners to move up to second and third.
Lady Pacer Vicky Abbott hit a sharp grounder to third that the South Ripley defender threw home in an attempt to get LoriAn Lozier, but the throw was late and the game was tied, 2-2.
Mikayla Turner then grounded to the second baseman to score Brooke Todd; and with two outs Kelsi Konkle drilled a single to leftcenter field scoring Vicky Abbott to make the score 4-2.
Things got a little squeamish in the top of the fifth inning, as South Ripley loaded the bases after two outs.
Allie Linkmeyer singled to center, Allie Sexton singled to center, and Hayley Schwarte drew a walk to fill the bases, but Switzerland County coach Steven Konkle replaced pitcher Mikayla Turner, who turned in an outstanding effort, with Kelsi Konkle, and the freshman induced Elizabeth Bodenberg to ground out to third, and the rally was snuffed out.
Switzerland County then added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth.
Lauren Edwards opened the inning with a single and was replaced by runner Rachel Ard. Courtney Carfield then hit a fly ball to center that looked like it could be caught, forcing Rachel Ard to wait to avoid a double play.
When the ball fell, the centerfielder threw to second to force Rachel Ard, leaving Courtney Carfield on first.
Shelby O'Neal then was hit by a pitch; and Susie Reyes hit a pop up just over the shortstop's head that loaded the bases.
Brooke Todd then hit a pop up just behind the pitcher's mound that resulted in the 'infield fly rule' being called by the umpires, but the play resulted in Courtney Carfield scoring.
South Ripley again loaded the bases in the top of the sixth after a double to leftcenter field by Kayla King, an infield single by Mercedes Bowling, and another infield single by Ellie Ayers.
Kelsi Konkle then got Allie Linkmeyer to fly out to centerfielder Courtney Carfield, and again the rally was crushed.
The Lady Raiders then had a final chance in the top of the seventh, and after Allie Sexton singled to center; Hayley Schwarte grounded out back to the pitcher, Elizabeth Bodenberg flew out to left, and Julia Sizemore made the final out.
For the third time in four years, the Switzerland County Lady Pacers advanced to the Sectional championship game.
The Sectional title game was scheduled to be played on the Lady Pacer Field yesterday (Wednesday) versus Milan, who defeated North Decatur in Tuesday's second game.