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GREENVILLE – The timing of the Vandalia softball team’s 10-2 loss to Greenville on Monday was both good and bad.
It was good, because beating a team three times in a season is difficult, and that could have been the task facing the Lady Vandals in the regional tournament had they swept the regular-season series on Monday.
It was bad, because it was a conference game, and a loss always makes winning a conference title a bit more difficult.
“Because it’s a conference game, it’s not a good spot to lose, but if we weren’t in the conference running, then I’d say, ‘Yes, 100 percent,’” said coach Brian Buscher. “It’s hard to beat a team three times (in a season), and I’d rather lose to them here than in the regional, of course.”
Through Tuesday, the Lady Vandals were 6-1 in conference play this season, and they will meet Greenville at regionals if they win their first game against Carlyle.
On a chilly and rainy day Monday, it appeared, after three innings, that the teams were going to have a back-and-forth battle, which would have been much different than Vandalia’s 3-2 extra-inning, nail-biter win from earlier in the season.
The Lady Vandals had multiple base runners in each of those innings, scoring once in each the second and third innings.
Junior Alex Henna doubled to lead off the second, and scored on a single from junior Molli Tedrick. Freshman Taylor Well nearly scored a second run two batters later, but she was tagged out during a rundown between third and home to end the inning.
Senior Whitney Newsom singled and scored after a couple of wild pitches in the third inning.
Greenville led 3-2 at that point, but added three runs on a few miscues by the Lady Vandals in the bottom of the third to change the game’s momentum.
“We knew going in that, on our side of the conference, if we get by Greenville, it gets a little easier,” Buscher said. “We were up for the game … but we gave up a couple of runs, and our girls got down.”
Vandalia drew five walks in the last four innings, but no hits were recorded. The best chance to score came in the fifth inning when two walks and an error loaded the bases with one out.
A strikeout and a pop up would end the inning, however.
“We had pretty good at-bats all game,” Buscher said. “Our No. 8 hitter had four at-bats, so we were going through the lineup pretty well. We just didn't get a timely hit.”
The Lady Vandals sent at least four hitters to the plate every inning, and had five or more in five innings.
But it was after the Lady Vandals left the bases loaded when the game got out of hand.
In the bottom of the fifth, freshman Megan Godoyo struck out the first two batters before issuing three straight walks – the second which Buscher said was planned – and Carsen Funneman cleared the bases with a bloop single.
“She got the bat on the ball and hit a flair to right,” Buscher said. “That’s going to happen. You don’t want it happen, but if we want to be good, we have to overcome that.”
Vandalia stranded one runner in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings, while Greenville added an unearned run in the sixth.
On an attempted double play in the top of the seventh inning, Newsom was struck in the facemask by the throw to first as she approached second base.
She was shaken up briefly, but Buscher said Greenville’s shortstop, Kelsey Kniepmann, seemed more concerned after the play.
Greenville’s coach argued that there should have been interference on the play, but since Newsom did not intentionally block the fielder’s throw, the correct call was made, leaving senior Audra Donaldson at first base.
Vandalia vs. Litchfield
Every batter scored during a nine-run fourth inning on Tuesday during a 15-5 Lady Vandals win against Litchfield.
Henna hit a three-run home run during that frame, Donaldson was 3-for-4, with two RBI and two runs during the game, and sophomore Morgan Whightsil had three RBI, three runs and two doubles.
Godoyo pitched well, striking out five in a complete-game effort, while allowing just four hits and walking one.
Vandalia at Pana
In a game played at Litchfield last Thursday, the Lady Vandals earned a 10-3 win at Pana.
Godoyo struck out seven over seven innings to pick up the win.
Offensively, sophomore Amber Bruno was 3-for-4, with four runs, and Newsom had four RBI. Senior Amy Walton was 2-for-4, with a triple.