Tri-Village softball defeats Tri-County North in battle of undefeated WOAC teams

Tri-Village softball team improves to 11-1 overall and 6-0 in WOAC alone in 1st place. (Dale Barger photo)

LEWISBURG – The last two unbeaten softball teams Tri-County North and Tri-Village in the WOAC squared off Wednesday night with two of the top pitchers in the league going toe to toe. Tri-Village on the strength of a home run in the 4th and two runs in the 6th came out on top 3-0.

Going in it was no surprise that strong pitching and defense were going to be a key in the game.

The Panthers came in at 7-0 in the WOAC leaning on junior pitcher Kasidi Daugherty who has pitched 65 innings with a 2.91 ERA and 80 strikeouts 4th best in the league.

Tri-Village came in at 5-0 in the WOAC riding the arm of Elizabeth Poling who has pitched 54 innings with a 2.09 ERA and 54 strikeouts.

It was a pitcher’s duel, a scoreless game into the 4th inning until shortstop Camryn Osborne struck the first blow that eventually was the game-winner, a blast over the right field fence for her 3rd home run of the season to give TV a 1-0 lead.

TV’s Camryn Osborne drives her 3rd homer over the right field fence to give the PATS a 1-0 lead over North in 4th inning. (Dale Barger photo)

Coming into the game Osborne had 15 hits leading the team in batting percentage at .536, which is also the 2nd best in the WOAC.

The Panthers got out of the 4th inning trailing by one run … but both coaches agreed the homerun was big at that point in the game.

“I thought if we could strike first, it would definitely give us the advantage. But they struck first and grabbed the momentum,” Tri-County North coach Shelly Lykins stated.

Tri-Village coach Emily Osborne agreed on her daughter Camryn’s home run.

“There is nothing like a homerun to get your team going,” Osborne said. “I think it was in the fourth inning she hit a home run in the Arcanum game as well and it certainly helped swing the momentum to our side,” Osborne added.

Emily Poling retired the Panthers at the bottom of the 4th and the Patriots went right to work at the top of the 5th looking to add more runs as Hailey Burk led off with a double.

Gracie Hemp takes a throw from catcher Kora Lykins and puts a tag on Hailey Burke. (Dale Barger photo)

The Patriots attempted to bunt with no outs to move the runner to 3rd base … but on the missed attempt the runner tried to take 3rd base and a great throw by Kora Lykins along with a good catch and tag by shortstop Gracie Hemp erased a possible insurance run as the Panthers got out of the inning unscathed.

Tri-Village threatened again at the top of the 6th inning and this time converted when Hailey Burk singled in Osborne, followed by an Emma Cantrell walk with the bases loaded to bring Aereonna Baker home for a 3-0 advantage.

The score remained 3-0 heading into the bottom half of the 7th with TCN last at bat.

Emily Poling was up to the task and finished the game to earn her 8th win of the season, she surrendered just three hits, struck out six and gave up zero runs in the win.

Emily Poling gets her 8th win of the season. (Dale Barger photo)

Kasidi Daugherty took the tough loss going a full 7 innings allowing three runs on nine hits and struck out seven. Daugherty was also 2-3 at the plate for the Panthers.  Bella Cherry was the only other North player to collect a hit.

Coming into the game junior catcher Kora Lykins had a 5-game hit streak and she would see that come to an end.

Coach Lykins knew it was going to be a tough battle and it would be a challenge to keep the Patriots’ offense from scoring.

Kasidi Daugherty took the loss on the mound but would collect two of the team’s three hits in the game. (Dale Barger photo)

“We tried to pitch a lot of balls tonight, and not give a lot of strikes to their top four hitters and we did a good job at that,” Lykins explained. “But you know, when you’re a good hitter, you’re going to find a way. And that’s what they did, and we just couldn’t keep up with them offensively. I felt like we hit well, we just hit it right at them,” Lykins added.

Patriots coach Osborne also talked about how her team handled the way the Panthers pitched to them.

“They know our players and stats and how to pitch us, we just had to show patience and make some adjustments and finally strung some hits together to get on the scoreboard,” Osborne commented.

Senior Kiersten Wilcox has been a leader all year for PATS & is 3rd in batting .533 in WOAC. She also has a 0.526 OBP & 0.892 slugging percentage this season. (Dale Barger photo)

“It’s something we’ve been working on all year trying to keep momentum on our side by being solid from the top to the bottom and really encouraging the girls not to hang their heads, to stay positive all the way through, push and fight like a team till the end,” Osborne said.

Tri-County North falls to 7-1 in the WOAC and 7-9 overall, but coach Lykins reminded the girls there are still plenty of league games left and anything can happen.

“It’s not over and we’re still in the hunt, we can still win it, or possibly finish as co-champions if this is our only loss,” Lykins concluded.

North has yet to play Arcanum and Ansonia who both also have just one loss and are still in the hunt for a league title.

Tri-Village now sits alone at the top of the WOAC at 6-0 and is 11-1 overall. They control their own destiny but still have league games with Bradford, Twin Valley South, Preble Shawnee, Ansonia and Newton.

“It’s a good feeling to be undefeated at the top of the league, but we know there are some big games left and we’ll take it a game at a time,” Osborne concluded.

Shortstop Camryn Osborn fields a ball on the other side of 2nd base and then dives to base to get the force out on an acrobatic defensive play in a win over TCN 3-0. (Dale Barger photo)