CLAYTON – West Liberty-Salem defeated Indian Lake, 1-0, in a Division III sectional softball final at Northmont on Monday.
The Tigers took an early lead when Lakers starter Hailey Wallace got a little wild. Leadoff hitter Kenedie Cox reached on a single, then Olivia Ames walked and Kelsey Day loaded the bases on an error.
Cox scored when Mady Stratton walked with the bases full for the game’s only run.
“We do like to have more runs for cushion. We had the base runners and were unable to push them across, so that’s something we will be working on before we play again,” WL-S Coach Kenleigh Farris said. “I just like that we did what we had to do. To win a 1-0 game says a lot about our defense and our pitching.”
The rest of the game was a blur, with both defenses making plays and the bats staying quiet. WL-S held a 3-2 edge in hitting for the contest.
“Of course it would be nice to score more runs, but you only have to win by one,” Farris said. “I really wanted them to have fun and play relaxed and I think they did that and it shows with how well they played the whole game.”
The Lakers threatened in the third inning with a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt. But WL-S cut the runner down between third and home a play later to escape the trouble and then closed out the inning with a pair of outs.
Day had just three strikeouts for the game, but Kiana Reames made several nice stops at third base and Stratton was solid at short to hold the Lakers in check. To put an exclamation point on the theme for the game, Grace Woodruff made a sliding stop at second base and tossed the ball to first for the final out.
“Kelsey was great. She did what she needed to do. The defense was stellar behind her. Kiana at third and then Mady at shortstop, they got a number of balls over there,” Farris said. “And then Grace at second making that play to end the game was phenomenal. And of course Kenedie (Cox) did a great job helping Kelsey behind the plate. It was great to see them all play together.”
For the contest, Cox was 2-for-3 with a run scored and Stratton was 1-for-2 with the RBI.
The Tigers will advance to play in a district final at Lebanon High School on Friday at 5 p.m. against Reading.
“We’ve just got to keep playing our game. When these girls have their ‘A’ game, there’s no stopping them,” Farris said.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.