The first inning of a softball contest can set the tone for the entire ball game.
That was exactly the case Thursday evening at Blue Mountain in the District 11 A semi final between number five seed Weatherly and number one seed Williams Valley.
The Lady Vikings came out swinging in the first scoring three runs on three hits and holding off the Wreckers for a 4-0 victory.
Hannah Nestor led off the inning with a triple and Cassidy Pinchorski followed with a single bringing in Nestor. Two batters later Lacey Bixler scorched a double to left field and then advanced to third on a Weatherly passed ball. Kylie Doyle scored Bixler on a groundout to first and then later scored on an error to give Williams Valley an early three run lead.
"That first inning was the difference," said Weatherly head coach Margaret Brown. "They bunched some hits together and took advantage of the one mistake we made. I have to credit our pitcher though because she settled down and pitched a nice game after that."
Freshman pitcher Kelly Parker, much as she has done all season used adversity to bring out the best in her abilities. After the first, Parker only let up two hits, with one of them being a homerun from Pinchorski.
"I really didn't know what to expect in the beginning of the year depending on two freshman pitchers," said Brown. "Kelly has just went out there and pitched well and she has done it in big games for us. I'm really proud of her effort and the way she handles herself out there."
Williams Valley had an ace of their own on the hill in Courtney Machamer. The senior looked strong all night long giving up six hits, striking out six, and holding the Wreckers scoreless in the game. Machamer got in some trouble in the third with bases loaded and two outs, but got Erin Doughtery to ground out to end the inning.
"I just try to go out there and throw strikes and get a lot of groundballs," said Machamer. "I have a great defense behind me and they have been making tough plays all season. Strikeouts are just a bonus."
The Lady Vikings defense was just as Machamer explained. They made plays all over the field that definitely took a hit or two away from the Wreckers and as Williams Valley head coach Lee Reiser eluded to, they have been playing like this all season.
"Our defense has been a strength of ours all year long," said Reiser. "We have only have one senior out there for us and that's our pitcher so we have a young bunch of girls that know how to play the game. We have simply been playing great defense all season and the girls showed that once again today."
Perhaps the most impressive moment of the day came when the Vikings Pinchorksi hit a shot in the fifth inning clearing the left field fence, scoring the final run of the game.
"That homerun really boosted my confidence moving forward," said Pinchorski. "I hit a couple homeruns during the regular season and then I kind-of lost my power a little bit, but after that hit today I feel like I have gotten some of it back."
Weatherly won nine out of their last 10 games to get to the post season including seven straight at one point. The Wreckers also lost to Williams Valley 14-0 back on April 20th. Although, Weatherly ultimately lost the game to the Vikings their improvement as the season went on cannot go unnoticed.
"These girls really came together and played well," said Brown. "I couldn't be any prouder of the way they have played this year and even today they fought hard and never gave up."
Weatherly 000 000 0 - 0 6 2
Williams Valley 300 010 X - 4 6 0
Parker and E. Doughtery; Machamer and Bixler; W - Machamer L - Parker.