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Pair of big innings hurt Lady Vandals in SCC loss

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By Andrew Harner

VANDALIA – The Lady Vandals were able to rally back from an early deficit last Friday against Gillespie.

But a second comeback wouldn’t come to fruition in the South Central Conference matchup, as Gillespie shrugged off the second-inning outburst and cruised to an 18-8 victory in six innings.

Despite a six-run second inning, Vandalia still trailed 8-6 after the Lady Miners scored three runs in the first and five more in the second.

Gillespie then scored seven runs with two outs in the fifth inning, which was extended after Vandalia botched two straight plays that could have ended the frame with just one run scored.

“When we have chances to get out of innings and don’t take advantage of them, we’re not going to be in ballgames,” said coach Brian Buscher. “One huge inning was enough for them today.”

Vandalia (1-13, 1-4 SCC) was sluggish on offense except for the second inning, though all but one batter had a hit and all nine hitters reached base at least once.

But more than half of the team’s 11 hits came in the second, as the Lady Vandals pushed six runs across the plate.

Key hits in the inning were a two-out, two-run double by senior Shelby Foster and a two-run single by senior Austyn Krueger.

Senior Paige Ehrat singled in a run, and sophomore Kadi Metzger earned an RBI by walking with the bases loaded.

“Things started clicking,” Buscher said. “We were feeling good about ourselves, and it carried over to the next batter and the next batter and the next batter.

“We did the same thing against Staunton (in a 10-7 loss),” he said. “I like our lineup, but we have to do this more consistently.”

Junior Brandy Protz pitched herself out of jams in the third and fourth innings, allowing one run in each frame, but also stranding three runners on base both times.

The offense was unable to match that, however, getting a run in the third, but stranding a runner in scoring position in both innings.

Gillespie – which had 16 hits in the game – got most of its fifth-inning runners via the walk, drawing five while getting just three hits.

With two outs, a wild pitch brought in a run, and after a walk, two straight infield errors allowed two more runs to score.

A three-run double two batters later put the Lady Miners ahead, 17-7.

“It really comes down to confidence,” Buscher said. “I don’t know what the right thing for every person is, but it will come down to confidence (on defense).

“When you’re 1-13, I understand it knocks down the confidence, but you have to play with pride and make plays.”

Senior Amber Bruno – who was 3-for-4 in the game – forced another inning, with a bunt single in the bottom of the fifth.

She would have beaten the throw, but no defender was covering first base and the throw rolled all the way to the outfield fence, allowing Bruno to score.

A walk and two hits in the sixth gave Gillespie another run, and Vandalia was retired in order in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

“We’ll keep trying different things to find ways to get better,” Buscher said. “We can’t dwell on the 13 losses; we just have to play and stay focused.”

Box score
Friday, April 26
Gillespie 18
Vandalia 8
G: 3-5-1-1-7-1—18-16-3
V: 0-6-1-0-1-0—8-11-4
LP: Dugan  (1-7); 2 IP, 8 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 1 HBP
Lady Vandals: Bruno, 3-for-4, 3 runs, SB; Kylie Sellers, 2-for-4, RBI, run; Foster, 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Krueger, 1-for-3, 2 RBI; Ehrat, 1-for-3, RBI, run; Morgan Whightsil, 1-for-2, run, 2 BB; Emilie Britt, 1-for-3, run; Taylor Well, 1-for-4, run; Metzger, RBI, BB.
Record: 1-13 (1-4 SCC)

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Senior Morgan Whightsil had a pair of extra-base hits, and senior Shelby Foster was 3-for-4 with a home run on Tuesday, but it wasn't enough offense to get the win in a 16-7 South Central Conference loss to Carlinville.

Whightsil now has a seven-game hitting streak, which is tied with junior Taylor Well for the team's longest of the season.

Carlinville scored consistently throughout the game, posting runs in all but two innings and scoring at least four runs in an inning three times against Vandalia (1-15, 1-5 SCC).

Box score
Tuesday, April 30
Carlinville 16
Vandalia 7
C: 2-5-1-4-0-0-4—16-11-0
V: 2-0-3-0-0-1-1—7-11-6
LP: Brandy Protz (0-6)
Lady Vandals: Foster, 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, run; Whightsil, 2-for-3, 2B, 3B, 3 runs; Kylie Sellers, 2-for-3, 2 runs; Kadi Metzger, 1-for-3, RBI; Well, 1-for-3, run; Amber Bruno, 1-for-3; Austyn Krueger, 1-for-3.
Record: 1-15 (1-5 SCC)

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On Monday, Vandalia managed just one late hit in a 16-0 loss to Greenville in nonconference action.

Senior Morgan Whightsil's single extended her hitting streak to six games, and she is hitting .500 in that span.

Monday, April 29
Greenville 16
Vandalia 0
G: 8-3-2-3-0—16-14-0
V: 0-0-0-0-0—0--1-5
WP: Gray
LP: Dugan (1-8); 5 IP, 3 K
Lady Vandals: Whightsil, 1-for-2; Taylor Well, BB; Shelby Foster, HBP.
Record: 1-14