The Vandalia High School softball team was on the verge of winning its season opener on Monday, but a seven-run seventh inning by Raymond-Lincolnwood sent the Lady Vandals home with a 12-7 loss.
Heading into the top of the seventh inning, the game was tied 5-5. Vandalia had already come back from being down 2-0 early to take a 3-2 lead, and the Lancers had tied the game three times in the last three innings.
Starting pitcher Audra Donaldson was going strong heading into the seventh, having gotten out of a jam in the sixth with two runners in scoring position. The first three batters for Lincolnwood reached on a pair of walks and a bunt single. A hit down the third-base line drove in two runs and a walk loaded the bases again. Another hit to the outfield drove in the third and fourth runs of the inning, putting the Lancers up 9-5 before the Lady Vandals even recorded an out. Donaldson struck out the seventh batter of the inning, but the eighth hit a home run to center field, clearing the bases and making it a 12-5 game.
Freshman Amber Bruno led off the bottom half of the seventh for Vandalia, beating out a bunt single. Katie Vieregge followed with a walk. Two batter and two outs later, Whitney Newsome ripped a single to right, driving in Bruno and Vieregge. Alex Henna followed with a double to put two in scoring position, but Vandalia wasn’t able to drive them home, and took the loss.
Earlier in the night, after working out of a jam in the first inning, Donaldson allowed two runs to score in the second. Vandalia trailed until the bottom of the third, when Vieregge reached base on a single to center field. She would move up to second on a bad throw. Taylor Brown doubled to right center, plating the run. Donaldson tied the game 2-2 with a single to left and scored the go-ahead run on a double by Henna.
A leadoff single in the top of the fourth would end up tying the game 3-3 later in the inning. Maggie Childers reached on a single to left field to start the bottom half of the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Vieregge.
The Lancers tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth and Vandalia took its final lead of the game, 5-4, in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to left by Newsome.
Donaldson got off to a hot start in the top of the fifth, striking out the first two batters. The third batter of the inning doubled and scored on a single later in the frame.
Vieregge was 2-for-3 on the day with an RBI and two runs scored. Brown was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Henna went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three runs batted in.
Vandalia falls to 0-1 on the season and will be on the road Tuesday at Newton. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.