The Holden softball team defeated the visiting Pleasant Hill Chicks by the final score of 10-0 in a run-rule shortened game on Thursday, August 31.
The win came behind a shutout pitching performance by junior Lilee Keller as the Lady Eagles totaled 12 hits as a team at the plate to break in the newly remodeled baseball/softball field at Holden High School with a victory.
“The team and I had a ton of motivation going into the game,” said Holden softball head coach Jeff Smith. “Pleasant Hill had beat us three times last year by a run and knocked us out of the district tournament. We had to get them back this year.
“Also, since it was our first game on the new field and being able to play at the school, we couldn’t start out with a loss. We played about as close to a perfect game as Holden softball has ever played. Everyone contributed at the plate, and we had zero errors.”
Keller recorded a strikeout to open the game and ended the first inning with two groundouts from Chicks batters.
In the bottom of the first inning, Addy Campbell singled from the leadoff spot and proceeded to steal second with Keller at bat before Keller drew a walk.
Abby Sisk doubled to plate Campbell for the first run of the game. Senior catcher Faith Brown followed Sisk with a ground ball fielder’s choice that scored Keller.
Addilyn Wooster followed Brown with a single to score Sisk and keep the line moving with no outs.
Following a strikeout by Haley Brooks, Lilli Bay plated Brown on a groundout for Holden’s fourth run of the first inning. A strikeout by Macey Greene ended the frame, though the four runs scored would prove to be enough to hold for the win.
Keller recorded a one-two-three inning in the second by striking out three Pleasant Hill batters in succession.
In the bottom of the second inning, Campbell plated Jazzy Brown who had reached base on a ground ball for the first of three runs in the inning.
A single by Sisk plated Campbell and Keller to put Holden ahead 7-0 after two innings of play. Brooks singled, and Bay drew a walk before the Chicks ended the inning.
The lone hit for Pleasant Hill came from Chicks batter Gracie Deringer who led off the top of the third inning with a single. Brooks caught a fly ball for the first out of the inning before Keller sat down the next two batters with strikeouts.
With two outs and Keller on third base in the bottom of the third inning, Sisk hit a deep ball that cleared the fence for a two-RBI home run off of Chicks relief pitcher Aliceyn Patterson who had entered the game in relief of starter Devyn Younce.
The final run of the game for the Lady Eagles was tacked on in the bottom of the fourth inning when a single by Jazzy Brown plated Brooks who had opened the inning with a double.
Keller delivered two strikeouts in the top of the fifth inning before Bay snagged a line drive to second base for the final out of the game with Holden ahead by 10 runs.
“Lilee Keller pitched the best game that I have seen a Holden pitcher throw since I have been here,” said coach Smith. “She kept Pleasant Hill off balance all night and only gave up one hit.”
Keller ended the game with 8 strikeouts while allowing no walks and giving up just the one hit.
Faith Brown called the game from the catcher spot in the first home game of her senior season, and Holden’s first-ever true home field game.
“Considering they’ve beat us by one the past couple times we played them, I’m really happy with how it turned out,” said Brown after the game. “I’m really proud of all the girls, too, because essentially it’s almost a new team so I think they’re adapting really well. I feel like we just mesh super well this year.”
The senior Brown would end the game with 2 hits, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored while taking advantage of the opportunity to call signals from behind home plate in Keller’s complete game shutout.
“I love catching her,” said Brown. “We’re like in sync. We just mesh super well with my calls and stuff. We always kind of agree on it. It’s kind of like a puzzle. I like it.”
Coach Smith tipped his cap to Brown’s work in the backstop position, and the entire team effort in the victory.
“Faith definitely called a great game behind the plate,” said coach Smith. “Behind every great pitching performance there’s a great catcher.
“Abby going 3-for-3 with a home run was the final piece we needed,” added coach Smith. “She was one of our best batters last year, and she showed that she is going to continue that into this season. Addy Campbell sets the tone for the team and started out the game with a big hit which gave momentum to the rest of the team. Jazzy was on base every at-bat to turn the lineup over. Haley Brooks also had two hits in the game. Like I said, every player contributed to our success.”
After the shutout win over Pleasant Hill in Holden’s home opener, the senior catcher and lone senior on this year’s Lady Eagles softball team summarized the winning performance.
“I feel like a proud mom,” said Brown. “All these underclassmen are like my best friends now. It’s more like a sisterhood than a team this year.”
Sisk finished the game with 3 total hits and 5 RBIs. Faith Brown, Jazzy Brown, and Campbell each had 2 hits and 1 RBI. Wooster had 1 hit and 1 RBI. Brooks had 2 hits. Bay recorded 1 RBI. Keller drew 2 walks in the game. Wooster, Brooks, Campbell, and Keller each had 1 stolen base.
At the end of last week, the Holden softball team held an overall record of 3-3 with no conference games played.
The next game for the Holden softball team is scheduled for this Thursday, September 7 with a home game against conference opponent Lexington. The varsity game against Lexington begins at 5 p.m., and is followed by the JV game.
Lady Eagles JV Note… Following the varsity win over Pleasant Hill, the Holden JV softball team defeated the Pleasant Hill JV team by the final score of 11-1. Olivia Wooster pitched for the win in the JV game. Wooster allowed 1 run on four hits while recording 7 strikeouts and allowing no walks. At the plate, Olivia Wooster had 3 hits and 3 RBIs. Drew Turner had 2 hits and 1 RBI. Addilyn Wooster had 1 hit and 1 RBI. Adasyn Yoder had 2 hits. Bobbie Diibon, Annalissa Ray, and Clara Ferguson each had 1 RBI.