Stiles’ heroics, Moriarty’s homers help Valley earn split with John Glenn
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON — At the end of every home softball game at Tippecanoe Valley, players that hit home runs pose for a photo with the balls that they hit out of the park.
They had to scooch in tight for the photo after a doubleheader against John Glenn on April 16.
Years from now, they might look at the photo and reminisce about not only the long balls but also their unusual comeback win in extra innings in Game 2.
Valley was down to their final out in both the seventh and eighth innings, and Corinna Stiles came through twice. Her bloop single in the seventh tied it 8-8, and after John Glenn scored six runs in the top of the eighth, her two-out, two-run homer to center tied the game again at 14. Valley would eventually win 15-14 on freshman Maddie Thompson’s walk-off RBI infield single to cap off a seven-run eighth.
“We always think we have a chance,” Valley coach Brittany Mathias said. “We never lose confidence within each other. We were just telling the girls us coaches have confidence in every single one of our hitters. There’s nobody in our lineup that we wouldn’t believe could hit the ball. So confidence, encouragement, it’s all there.”
John Glenn won the first game 14-13 despite two homers from Molly Moriarty and one each from Abby Bowers and Brayden Baney.
Moriarty would hit her third homer of the day in the second game.
When it’s cold and chilly, as it was on this day, the wind blows straight towards Indiana 19. At Valley, that means the wind is blowing out.
And after Stiles’ game-tying homer, Mackaylie Costello lofted a fly ball to right field, except the right fielder kept drifting back and fighting the sun. She dropped the ball for a three-base error, and Baney and Bowers then were intentionally walked to load the bases.
That brought up Thompson, who sent a grounder to the hole at shortstop Hannah Banks. Banks decided to throw home to get the force, but Costello was safe to end the game.
Stiles had been 3 for 8 in the doubleheader prior to her at-bat in the seventh. With nobody on and two out, Madi Smith doubled to keep the game alive, and Stiles dropped a hit down the right field line to drive in courtesy runner Olivia Wilson and tie the game.
But the first six batters reached base against Stiles in the top of the eighth, and they all came around to score.
In the bottom of the eighth, Bowers reached on an error with one out. Thompson walked, and Brittany Benn reached on an error to load the bases. Sydney Rhamey walked to make it 14-9. Moriarty walked to make it 14-10. Smith singled to deep left to score Benn and Rhamey and make it 14-12, but Moriarty was cut down trying to advance to third.
So Valley was down to their final out again, but Stiles crushed a homer to deep center to tie the game again.
“I struggled at the plate today, so going up I was just like, ‘Base hit, just a base hit,’” Stiles said. “Because I had struggled today. And then I hit it out, so I was excited. I needed it. … I didn’t make any adjustments. It was just in my head.”
That brought up Costello, and Mathias knew that Costello’s fly ball was not as easy as it might have appeared.
“You have to track it because it just hangs up there sometimes, and other times … there were multiple home runs today, and it was just pushing out. That’s why you practice outside, right? That’s why we practice in the wind. That’s why we practice in the rain. It’s Indiana. You play softball in this weather all the time, so you just have to learn to track it.”
In the first game, Kendall Goodlink singled, homered and drove in five runs for John Glenn, who broke a 10-10 tie with four runs in the sixth and held off a Valley rally. Moriarty and Bowers had three hits and three RBIs each, and Baney had two hits and two RBIs. Costello and Stiles each had two hits and an RBI.
Costello and Thompson have both stepped into the lineup as freshmen.
“A lot,” Stiles said. “They’re really good. They help us a lot. M.J.’s (Costello) pitching, Maddie at first, they’re actually really skilled. We always say, ‘Don’t be a freshman,’ but they never are.”
Game 1: John Glenn 14, Valley 13
John Glenn 530 114 0 – 14
Valley 401 142 1 – 13
WP – Makenzie Timm (7 IP, 16 H, 13 R, 13 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)
LP – Macy Kirchenstien (2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)
2B – Mia Collins (JG), Mercedes Snapp (TV), Brayden Baney (TV), Molly Moriarty (TV), Abby Bowers (TV), Mackaylie Costello (TV)
3B – Corinna Stiles (TV)
HR – Natalie Beem (JG), Kendall Goodlink (JG), Molly Moriarty 2 (TV), Abby Bowers (TV), Brayden Baney (TV)
Game 2: Valley 15, John Glenn 14 (8 innings)
John Glenn 201 500 06 – 14
Valley 005 200 17 – 15
WP – Corinna Stiles (4 ⅔ IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
LP – Amelia Capeles (7 ⅔ IP, 20 H, 15 R, 11 ER, 9 BB, 0 K)
2B – Natalie Wilton 2 (JG), Madi Smith 2 (TV), Brayden Baney (TV)
3B – Mackaylie Costello (TV)
HR – Kendall Goodlink (JG), Molly Moriarty (TV), Corinna Stiles (TV)