By David Green
DRAFFENVILLE – Reigning state champion Allen County-Scottsville defeated Grayson County 5-0 Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the Marshall County Slugfest fast-pitch softball tournament.
The host Lady Marshals came up short in games against both finalists and scored a win over Franklin-Simpson in their third game in the two-day event.
Coach Patricia Greer saw the tournament as a valuable learning experience for her team.
After the Lady Marshals fell behind 8-0 after the top of the fourth inning against Allen County in the semifinals, Greer said she told the team to relax.
“I said, ‘Let’s forget about the score and just play, right here, pitch by pitch.’ We played the rest of the game a 2-to-1 game with them,” Greer said.
The one run came on a home run by Mallory Young in the bottom of the sixth inning.
That shot “really relaxed all of kids at bat,” Greer said. “I thought all of our bats looked so much calmer once we saw [that]”
Greer also praised pitching workhorse Toni Fehrenbacher’s effort.
“She did a nice job of keeping them in the park and keeping them on the ground,” Greer said. “At the end, Allee [Moore] and Buzz [Ray] were making some plays for us that they didn’t come up with at the beginning, but that’s OK. That’s improvement.
“That’s why you play the best teams. We didn’t walk into this game not knowing who Allen County was. They’re defending state champions for a reason.”
Toni Fehrenbacher and Mallory Young belted home runs for the Lady Marshals, who take a 4-3 record against Lone Oak at 6 p.m. today in the first of three home games this week against First Region opponents.
Graves County visits Thursday at 5:30 and Ballard Memorial, one of nine teams from Kentucky and Illinois that participated in the Slugfest, visits Friday at 6 p.m.
Carbondale, Goreville and Massac County were the three Illinois schools that took part in the tourney. Union County was the sixth Kentucky team in the field.
SLUGFEST NOTES: Allen County-Scottsville finishes the tournament with a 16-1 record. In three Slugfest games, the Lady Patriots surrendered only one run, that coming on a one-run shot by Marshall County’s Young.
n Friday night’s game between Carbondale, Ill., and Ballard Memorial featured a triple play by the Carbondale defense. After a line-drive out to the pitcher, subsequent throws caught Lady Bomber runners off base at third and second.
n Marshall County coach Patricia Greer, the tournament director, was kept busy by an ongoing juggling act of entrants in the event. Originally slated for 12 teams, Greer had to reset the schedule numerous times in the days as some of the teams withdrew.
Even the hours leading up to the first games on Friday were tumultuous, as Greer had to reset some matchups because of concerns from Illinois schools about the maximum number of games they are permitted to play in a season.
n Games were played at the MCHS field and at Mike Miller Park west of Draffenville.
Grayson Co. 7
Marshall Co. 4
Grayson’s Lady Cougars came into the Slugfest with a 5-1 record, plus a five-inning contest against Louisville Assumption that ended in a 2-2 tie. Assumption is the only team to pin a defeat on top-ranked Allen County-Scottsville this season.
The Lady Cougars, playing as the home team on the Lady Marshals’ diamond as pool play began on Friday, showed their offensive prowess early.
They stretched a 2-1 first-inning lead into a 7-1 advantage by sending 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second frame.
Five hits including a grand slam home run by catcher Laura Decker, one walk and one throwing error by the Lady Marshals added up to a big inning for Grayson.
But Marshall fought back with three runs in the top of the fifth to narrow the gap. Mallory Young doubled and Shelby Tyree singled. Buzz Ray’s single drove Young home and Allee Moore singled, driving in both Tyree and Ray.
But that was as close as the Lady Marshals would get.
Young and Moore were both 2-for-3. Moore had three RBI, driving in Young with the first run of the game with a double to left center field in the top of the first.
The Lady Marshals had seven hits, only one fewer than Grayson County, but committed three errors.
MC 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 – 4 7 3
GC 2 5 0 0 0 0 x – 7 8 1
Toni Fehrenbacher and Abby Fiessinger; Victoria Decker and Lauren Decker WP: V. Decker LP: Fehrenbacher HR: L. Decker (G)
Marshall Co. 2
Toni Fehrenbacher pitched a one-hit shutout and hit a two-run home run to account for the only runs of the game in the Lady Marshals’ second game Friday.
But the game was not quite as much of a pitcher’s duel as the score would suggest, as Marshall County rapped out nine hits and left eight runners on base.
Fehrenbacher’s home run off Lady Wildcat pitcher Shelby Franklin came in the bottom of the fourth, after Kaitlyn York doubled.
Mallory Young and Allee Moore also had doubles for the winners. Young was 3-for-3 and Buzz Ray had two hits in three at-bats.
F-S 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 1 0
MC 0 0 0 2 0 0 x – 2 9 0
Shelby Franklin and Emmi Thurmond; Toni Fehrenbacher and Abby Fiessinger WP: Fehrenbacher LP: Franklin HR: Fehrenbacher (M)
Marshall Co. 0
Precision pitching by Lady Patriot righthander Kelsi Pardue limited the Lady Marshals to only three hits, striking out 13 batters.
Meanwhile, five fielding errors by Marshall County and seven walks handed out to Lady Patriot batters added to the home team’s troubles as Allen County-Scottsville advanced to the championship game in Saturday’s bracket play.
The Lady Patriots scored three runs in the first inning and added two more in the second frame. The lead bulged to 8-0 after four innings and they pushed it to 10-0 with two runs in the top of the sixth.
However, Mallory Young made sure there would be no mercy rule ending as she drove one of Pardue’s pitches over the left-field fence in the bottom of the sixth.
The shot energized Marshall County,
Kaitlyn York had two of the Marshall County hits. Her two-out single in the bottom of the fifth gave the Lady Marshals their first baserunner.
York had another single in the bottom of the seventh, after Ray drew a lead-off walk and Moore reached first on a fielder’s choice.
The game ended when pitcher Toni Fehrenbacher grounded out.
AC-S 3 2 0 3 0 2 0 – 10 8 0
MC 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 – 1 3 5
Kelsi Pardue and Katie Young; Toni Fehrenbacher and Abby Fiessinger WP: Young LP: Fehrenbacher HR: Mallory Young (M)