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Knox County Edges Lady Tigers In First Round Thriller

By David Sharp

   Holly Kite was awarded home plate on an interference call, scoring the lone run of a September 22 Schuyler County Tournament first round game. Brashear (8-4) had the tying run on third base in the bottom of the eighth inning.

   Knox County shortstop Hannah Dale fielded a Jessi Hill grounder and fired to first ending the game as Brashear runner Alexis Harrelson crossed the plate.

   The game was filled with outstanding pitching and defense on both sides. Christina Scudder reached base on an error leading off the game. Scudder stole second base and moved up to third.

   Brittany Miller was on top of her game, and struck out two tough batters before inducing a fly ball to short ending the top of the first inning with no scoring. Christina Scudder had her A game as well on the Brashear rubber.

   The Lady Tigers were coming off of their first Tri-County Conference loss of the season at Bevier by a 1-0 score in 13 innings the previous evening. Knox County had two runners on base inn the second inning. The returning first team all conference and all district pitcher fanned the side, allowing no scoring.

   Knox County (7-8) centerfielder Jordin Luthenauer robbed Carmen Woods of a hit with a diving catch of a fly ball for the second out of the Brashear fourth inning. KCHS first baseman Amanda Woods executed a great slap tag retiring Tabitha Killen for the second out of the Lady Tiger second inning.

   Brittany Miller earned the first hit of the game when she stroked a two out double in the top of the sixth inning. Christina Scudder answered by striking out her third batter of the inning with no scoring. Jessi Hill drew a third inning walk and Shelby Rogers walked in the bottom of the fifth inning, providing the lone Lady Tiger base runners after the first inning.

   Knox County had a good chance to score in the top of the seventh. Amanda Woods and Hannah Dale reached on consecutive errors leading off the inning. The Lady Tigers threw Woods out attempting to stretch her two base error into a triple for the first out. Christina Scudder struck out the last two batters of the inning stranding Dale on second base.

   “That’s what that new rule does. In any other year that would have been an out at the plate,” said Brashear coach Sara Williams. “That’s how play goes. If we had gotten the throw off a little quicker it might have went our way. I thought we played a really good defensive game.”

   Brashear put the softball in play three times in the bottom of the seventh, but was turned away by three KCHS fielding plays. The game went to extra innings. Holly Kite was set on second base by the International Tie-Breaker rule beginning the KCHS eighth.

   Chelsea Bisch beat out a bunt putting Lady Eagles on first and third with none out. Christina Scudder fanned a Lady Eagle for the first out.

   Myra Parrish lofted a fly ball to right field. Brashear outfielder Shelby Rogers made a sure handed catch and fired to the plate as Holly Kite ran in attempting to score.

   Brashear catcher Abby McKim and Kite collided just as the throw arrived at the plate. There is a newly enacted MSHSAA softball rule that basically prohibits blocking the plate without having the softball in the fielders’ possession.

   The home plate umpire ruled the players made contact before the softball was in the catcher’s possession. Knox County was awarded the run and the Lady Eagles led 1-0 with two out in the eighth inning with Chelsea Bisch on second base.

   “It was painful,” said KCHS senior Holly Kite. “I just ran when the coach told me to and tried to slide under the tag and win the game. We were in a really big slump. I think it’s all downhill from here.”

   Bisch moved to third on a wild pitch.  Carmen Woods hauled in Brittany Millers fly ball for the third out. Alexis Harrelson was placed on second base at the top of the Brashear eighth inning.

   Tabitha Killen executed a sacrifice bunt moving Harrelson to third with one out. Brittany Miller fanned a batter for the second out. All conference senior Jessi Hill grounded sharply to shortstop. Knox County made the final play of the game, winning by a 1-0 score.

   Chelsea Bisch and Brittany Miller had the only hits of the game. Brashear had two errors and Knox County one. Brittany Miller was the winning pitcher striking out nine batters in eight innings with two walks.

   Christina Scudder fanned 13 of the 29 batters faced with two walks and two hits. The Lady Eagles and Tigers have a non-conference game scheduled for September 24.

   “We just came through in the time we needed to,” said Knox County coach Stephanie Crawford. “Holly Kite took a hard hit and wasn’t afraid to score that one run. We have been struggling in our last couple of games. I was proud of our girls for making the routine plays to win a close game.”

   “Brittany (Miller) threw great today,” said Crawford. “She brought her A game. I’m proud of her for coming back after getting hit pretty hard by Schuyler County and throwing a great game against Brashear.”

   The Lady Eagles had a rematch with eventual tournament champion Schuyler County in the semi-finals. Brashear went on to win the consolation championship by a 10-3 margin over conference rival Novinger.