SAC Softball

Shirk, Mounties take down Tigers in SAC win

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NEW MARKET - Southmont’s softball team used some long ball hitting, some base-running magic and a three-hit pitching performance to defeat Lebanon 6-1 in Sagamore Conference action.

Two of the mentioned notes were courtesy of Macie Shirk, whose home run in the second inning tied the South school record for a single season at 11. The blast over the left field fence scored Taylor Grino in front of her, and the lead was secure for the night.

The senior pitched the entire game, retiring the last nine in a row, and 17 of the last 18 Tigers’ hitters.

She struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter.

“Macie struggled early in the game,” Mounties coach Dan Taylor said. “It was a warm night and her hands were slippery. She took a rosin bag out with her, got her hands dry and she pitched great from there. She really took charge. She put the team on her shoulders and said ‘let’s go.’ She was a big player making a big play in a big game.”

The Mounties move to 12-3 with the win, and 7-2 in the Sagamore, while the Tigers drop to 13-8 overall and 5-5 in the league.

The visitors got their run in the first. They left two runners on base as well.

They got two in scoring position in the second, but a heads-up defensive play by catcher Hanna Nichols and a fly ball out left them stranded. There was one Lebanon base runner on the last five innings, and that was on an error.

The Mounties took the lead in the third on the long ball, and the base-running magic came in the fourth.

Anna Stokes reached on a single, and promptly stole second base, which was the 75th stolen base of the season for the team. Lillie Odum then beat out a bunt, moving Stokes to third.

One pitch later, Kami Dinius hit a ground ball to short, and Stokes broke for home, and soon realized her problem.

A rundown followed, and a handful of Lebanon players chased the freshman one direction and then another, until the Tigers ran out of defenders, and Stokes raced everyone to home plate.

Odum was now on third, and Brady Spencer lofted a fly ball to short left field. Odum tagged up and took off, only to find out the throw was way in front of her.

A second rundown ensued, and after a few dashes back and forth, a dropped throw at the plate had Odum safe.

“Plays like that turn games around,” Taylor said of the mayhem. “We scored two runs, and we were all fired up. I know it bothered the Lebanon players, because I know how much it would bother me.”

As it was, two more were in. Stokes picked up another hit in the sixth and scored again, this time on a Mallory Mason pinch-hit ground out. Jenna Grino, also pinch-hitting in the sixth, reached on an error and scored on another error.

The Mounties finished with six hits, and five of those six scored.

“It’s always big to beat Lebanon,” Taylor said of the win. “They have a recent state championship and they are a great program. Our goal now is to sweep them.”

That chance comes on Thursday, when the Mounties travel to Lebanon.

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