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PREP SOFTBALL: 13-run inning sends Meade County past Elizabethtown (04/09)

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By Nathaniel Bryan

Prior to Monday, it had been more than seven years since the Meade County Lady Waves played the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers on the softball field.

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After the second-inning explosion Meade County unleashed on the young Lady Panthers, it seems to reason Elizabethtown might want to wait another seven years before taking on its former 17th District rival.

Highlighted by a pair of home runs, the visiting Lady Waves accounted for all of their hits and runs in their nine-hit, 13-run second inning as they mercy ruled the Lady Panthers in five innings, 13-3.

“That was pretty exciting,” said sophomore winning pitcher Neeli Rhoads. “It’s really good when you can beat a team so bad that they can’t do anything about it.”

After shutting down the Lady Waves (11-5) in the first inning, the Lady Panthers (4-6) couldn’t do anything about the offensive onslaught Meade County had.

Freshman Rachel Ayer got the offense on track with a leadoff homer to center field. Sophomore Maddie Tabor singled to left and her courtesy runner, freshman Emma Wilson, went to third when sophomore Madison Haynes reached first and took second on an error – the first of five made by Elizabethtown in the second inning.

“When you give them eight outs in an inning, they become very dangerous,” said Elizabethtown coach Matt Mardis. “That’s with any team.”

But not just any team could have kept the momentum going.

Meade County went up 2-0 when Emma Wilson scored on Rhoads’ suicide bunt single. Freshman Katie Wilson reached on an infielder’s fielding error to load the bases and junior Chaselyn Allgeier drew a walk to make to 3-0.

Sophomore Elissa Youart followed with a two-run single to left field that made it 5-0 before junior Ashley Nikolao cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left.

“The first inning was kind of bad,” said Nikolao, who struck out swinging in the first inning for Meade County’s second out. “But in the second inning, we got our timing down and adjusted to the umpire’s strike zone and we all started hitting.”

Nikolao, the reigning Area Player of the Year, has been hitting all season as the homer was her fifth of the year and third in three days.

After Elizabethtown finally recorded an out, Ayer added her second hit of the inning with a single to center. Tabor followed with a single to the outfield which was misplayed, allowing Ayer to take third and Tabor to move to second before being replaced by Emma Wilson. Haynes’ single scored Ayer and Meade County made it 10-0 after a passed ball and another error. An RBI single from Allgeier made it 11-0.

“It’s a lot of help for Neeli when our offense can produce like that so she doesn’t have to be so stressed out there on the mound,” Allgeier said.

Meade County capped off its barrage when it scored two more runs when Elizabethtown misplayed a fly ball.

The Lady Waves then basically turned to their junior varsity team to hold on as Rhoads, senior Megan Aebersold and sophomore Riley Wilson were the only starters to remain in the game. Aebersold later subbed out, too, as Meade County played three catchers.

“I don’t mind it,” Allgeier said of watching the final 3½ innings from the dugout. “I like seeing my teammates getting a chance to shine on varsity.”

Freshman Brooke Chancey shined offensively for Elizabethtown, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and scoring once. Eighth-grader Sara Beth Hundley and freshman Carly Patterson both singled and scored, while eighth-grader Taylor Thomas and junior Brianna Taylor singled to account for the remainder of Elizabethtown’s six hits.

Elizabethtown held Meade County scoreless and hitless the final three innings and the Lady Panthers settled down defensively with no errors.

“When the pressure’s off and you’re down 10 runs, it’s easier to play defense. But we just didn’t play well today and we weren’t focused.” Mardis said. “We started to hit the ball a little better, but it’s nothing to get excited about when you get run-ruled. I’m just not into moral victories.”

MEADE COUNTY 13, ELIZABETHTOWN 3

                                              R  H  E

Meade County     0(13)0   00     13  9  3

Elizabethtown          010   20      3  6  6

Nelli Rhoads and Maddie Tabor, Megan Aebersold (2), Raven Vega (4). Callie Sondergard, Morgan White (3) and Brooke Chancey. WP: Rhoads. LP: Sondergard. HR: Rachel Ayer (MC), Ashley Nikolao (MC).

UP NEXT: Meade County plays at Breckinridge County at 6:30 p.m. today. Elizabethtown plays at Washington County at 6 p.m. today.

Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or nbryan@thenewsenterprise.com.