By Jason Haddixâ€©For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — FRANKTON — Frankton flew out to a big lead, only to have Shenandoah battle back on the softball diamond.
But, the Eagles were fend off the Raiders for a 10-8 victory.
Shenandoah’s Rachel Krathwohl struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning. The junior right-hander walked the first two Eagles batter then Lexi Gray singled over the shortstop's head to load the bases with no outs.
Kaylee Irwin followed with a bases-clearing double to right-center field and the Eagles were flying high with a 3-0 lead and no outs in the first inning. They added two more before the third out was recorded.
“We were patient at the plate early,” Frankton coach Jeremy Parker said. “Then Kaylee has been hitting the ball hard all week and it was good to see that.”
Irwin said her approach at the plate was to attack the first pitch, which she added was usually a strike. She led the Eagles with three hits and four RBIs.
The Eagles tacked one run in the second inning and again in the fourth, then three in the sixth.
Krathwohl went the distance for the Raiders despite giving up all 10 Eagles runs and allowing 11 hits.
“This is now about the third game where she has come out flat,” coach Stacey Goyette said. “We think she got faster as the game went on. We don’t think she is coming out ready to go (at the start of the game).”
Shenandoah had plenty of opportunities to get back in the game, but Frankton’s starting pitcher Tia Sharp halted each threat.
Then with a commanding 7-0 lead, Parker brought in Taylor Ryan in relief of Sharp who hurled five scoreless innings while giving up four hits and two walks with five strike outs. She also had a pair of singles with two RBI at the plate.
That is when the wheels nearly fell off for the Eagles as the Raiders battled back in a big way during the sixth inning.
A walk followed by a fielding error and a single loaded the bases for Shenandoah with no outs. Goyette sent up pinch hitter Jayden Barnard who took the first pitch she saw to deep left-center field for a two RBI double.
“This team doesn’t quit and that goes back to our sectional last year,” Goyette said. “These girls are playing ball to the end.”
Two more singles and a couple of groundouts later, the Raiders were down just one run. They added two more in the seventh, but sandwiched in between were Frankton’s three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Ryan gave up eight runs on seven hits in her two innings on the mound.
“We needed to get Taylor some work,” Parker said. “She is a little rusty but we didn’t make plays for her either."
Shenandoah dropped to 3-4 and were led by Ashley Brown, Taylor Vaccaro and Barnard, each with two hits.
“When you see them come back you get a little nervous,” Irwin said. “But, you have got to stick it out and keep doing what you do with no errors.”