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  • Val T.

‘Bulldog mentality:’ Layer, Beasy, Cripe have 2 RBIs each in Pioneer’s win over Winamac

Keller has 3 hits, Goodman 2 RBIs, but Lady Warriors strand 9


Sports Editor, RTC

Adeline Cripe

Freshman Lois Layer hit the go-ahead, two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning and also earned the win in the circle to lead the Pioneer softball team to a 7-4 win over Winamac in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Rochester’s Fansler Field Monday.

Pioneer improved to 18-8. Ava Beasy had three hits and two RBIs, and Layer and Adeline Cripe had two hits and two RBIs each. Casey Webb went 2 for 2 with an RBI, and Kylie Attinger had two hits and two runs scored.

Pioneer did not strike out against the Winamac pitching tandem of Brooke Rausch and Adrianna Hall.

Pioneer committed four errors but survived and advanced to next meet Wabash, who received a bye, in the semifinals at 5 p.m. today.

Maggie Keller had three hits and Brody Goodman had a pair of RBI singles for Winamac (16-9). Maggie Smith added two hits and an RBI.

Winamac got the leadoff batter on base in each of the first six innings, but they scored in only two of those innings. They left nine on base.

“I think that was our Achilles heel tonight,” Winamac coach Jennifer Belcher said of the players left on base. “Usually, when we get the leadoff batter on, it means runs on the board, and tonight, we just didn’t get that hit when we needed it, didn’t quite execute as well offensively with runners in scoring position as we would have liked.”

Winamac has not beaten Pioneer since 2017. They have lost to Pioneer in the sectional in three of the last four years.

Pioneer trailed 4-3 going into the bottom of the fourth before scoring four times. Brooke Rausch hit Addison Kennell with a pitch. Kennell went to second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch.

Casey Webb’s sacrifice fly to center tied the game. Ava Ott then grounded to second.

Then came a Pioneer onslaught of five straight two-out hits. Emma Sells reached on an infield single, and left-hand hitting Kylie Attinger rapped a low liner to left field for a single.

Then Layer hammered a liner to left on the first pitch of her at-bat that Werner could not make a shoestring catch on to score Sells and Attinger and give Pioneer a 6-4 lead.

“I noticed that she was throwing first-pitch strikes, so I saw that there were runners in scoring position, so I decided to hop on the first pitch,” Layer said. “We just decided to hop on any pitch that we could get to.”

Beasy singled Layer to third, and Cripe singled to score Layer and make it 7-4.

Pioneer coach Gabby Thomas praised her team’s “choke and poke” approach.

“Just making the defense work where they have to field the ball, throw the ball and catch the ball,” Thomas said. “Just put that pressure.”

Corrin Combs reached on an error, and Keller singled her to second to start the fifth, but Layer retired Rausch on a pop to her in the circle – the infield fly rule was invoked – got Linzy Walters on a grounder to Ott at second base and fanned Adrianna Hall looking to end the inning.

Isabelle Decker led off the top of the sixth with an infield, and Smith singled her to second.

But Layer emerged from the trouble, getting Goodman on a foul fly to Attinger in right, getting Makayla Werner on a pop to first and getting Combs on a comebacker.

Layer then retired the side in order in the seventh to close it out.

“She’s got that bulldog mentality towards the end of the game,” Thomas said. “She wanted the ball. She knew where she needed to throw the ball to get those key outs that we needed.”

Layer walked Smith to lead off the game but never walked another batter. She said she had to adjust to the strike zone.

“It’s just a game of inches,” Layer explained. “So I just needed to adjust to what she was calling.”

Pioneer took a 2-0 lead in the first on Beasy’s two-run single, but Piper Link threw her out trying to stretch it into a double.

Layer got Linzy Walters on a foul out to first and struck out Hall and Isabelle Decker with two on in the second.

But Winamac would tie it in the third with help from two Pioneer errors. Smith reached second on an error by the shortstop. Goodman then chopped an RBI single up the middle, and when the ball went under the center fielder’s glove for an error, Goodman went all the way to third.

One out later, Combs’ RBI single tied the game. Keller added a single.

But Rausch popped to Kennell at short, and even though the infield fly rule had been called, Kennell was still able to throw to second and double off courtesy runner Olivia Link.

Pioneer took a 3-2 lead in the bottom half. With nobody on and two out, Beasy singled and scored from first on Cripe’s double to deep left-center.

“They are a very good contact team,” Belcher said of Pioneer. “And they do find a way to put a ball in play. With Brooke and Adri, we try to work with them more on just rely on your defense. You don’t have to strike everybody out. That’s gotten us 16 wins this season.”

But Winamac responded with two runs in the fourth. Walters singled and went to second on Hall’s sacrifice. Decker fanned, but a two-out RBI single from Smith just to the left of the shortstop tied it, and she went to second on the throw home. Goodman then hit a soft liner off the end of the bat into shallow right for another RBI single to give Winamac a 4-3 lead.

Pioneer 7, Winamac 4

Winamac 002 200 0 – 4 11 1

Pioneer 201 400 X – 7 13 4

WP – Lois Layer (7 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

LP – Brooke Rausch (4 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 K)

2B – Adeline Cripe (PIO), Lois Layer (PIO)

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