By Tommy Keeler Jr. - email@example.com
WOODSTOCK -- Clarke County switch hitter Megan Rion usually has trouble deciding which side of the plate to hit from, so the junior will usually take turns from different sides of the plate during each game. On Friday night against Central, Rion found the left side of the plate to be more comfortable and stuck with it.
It worked for Rion as she went 4-for-4 to lead the Eagles to an 8-3 Bull Run District softball win over the Falcons.
"After I got that first hit, I just decided to stay there," Rion said.
Rion led the game off with a single off Central starter Sydney Plum. Sarah Herndon reached on an error, the first of six on the night for the Falcons. Olivia Gore's RBI groundout gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Pinch runner Alex Jackson later scored on a wild pitch to give Clarke County a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles (5-2, 2-0 Bull Run) added two more in the top of the second. Morgan Ottobre drew a one-out walk, Natalie Wright reached on an error, and a throwing error on attempted steal scored Ottobre.
One out later, Rion came up to the plate and drilled a shot into deep left field over the head of Caitlin Cummins for an RBI triple.
"I noticed they had pulled their left fielder in and so I just tried to hit it over the head," Rion said.
Rion duplicated the feat in the top of the fifth inning as she led off with a double over the head of Central center fielder Katelyn Poston. Back-to-back Central errors allowed Rion to score, and a groundout RBI by Helen Good gave the Eagles a 6-0 lead.
That was more than enough for Herndon, who struck out 14 in the victory.
"At the beginning I wasn't hitting my spots," Herndon said. "Then I started to warm up."
The Falcons (3-2, 1-1 Bull Run) only managed two threats in the game offensively. In the bottom of the fifth, Katelin Kline drew a one-out walk and Taylor Cooper followed with an infield hit. Kline was then caught trying to steal third for the second out.
Anna Waller and Allie Lockhart each drew walks to load the bases, but Mikayla Viar hit a grounder to third baseman Good for the easy force out.
"Sarah's pitched well for us all season," Clarke County coach Susan Grubbs said. "I thought Central did a good job of putting the ball in play at times, but Sarah did a good job of making the big pitch when she needed to."
Central finally put things together offensively in the bottom of the seventh. Kline led off with an infield single and Cooper followed with a single. Waller's infield single loaded the bases with no outs. Herndon then struck out Lockhart, but the pitch got away from the catcher allowing Kline to score.
A wild pitch scored Cooper to cut the lead to 8-2. Viar followed with an RBI single, but Herndon struck out Plum and Mary Wakeman to end the game.
The Eagles only had five hits against Plum, who struck out nine. Central had nine hits against Herndon. Cooper went 3-for-4, and Waller had two hits for the Falcons.
The Falcons will not have much time to dwell on the loss, as they host the Harry Combs Classic today, starting at 11 a.m.
"You can't make that many mistakes against a good team and expect to win," Central coach Marty Bundrick said. "We just have to learn from this. The kids will pick their heads back up.
"We have our tournament [today]. [Today] will tell us what kind of team we are."