Errors Costly for Blue Ridge Softball in Loss to Tri-Valley

DOWNS, Ill. -- In this rematch of last year's regional title game, the Lady Knights' chances for redemption faded in the bottom of the first inning.

An error-prone Blue Ridge team allowed the Lady Vikings to score four runs in that inning. And they never looked back, showing the No. 12-ranked Lady Knights why they now have the No. 7 ranking with a 6-1 victory.

After a 1-2-3 top of the first inning from Tri-Valley's Mikaela Carr, Janelle Dedic led off the bottom half with a double. Then Carr drove in the game's first run with a double of her own.

Blue Ridge had a chance to get Carr out, as she hit a foul ball toward left field. But the left fielder failed to catch the foul ball.

Cassie Norman hit a ground ball in the next at-bat and wound up safe on first base because Kalyn Reynolds was off the base when she caught the throw-out attempt. With Molly Lessen at the plate, Jordan Wheeler threw a wild pitch to score Carr from third base and advance Norman to third base.

With two outs, Kendall Gher doubled Tri-Valley's lead by hitting a two-RBI double that scored Norman and Lessen.

"It was a one-inning game," Blue Ridge softball coach Myron Schroeder said. "If we hadn't thrown out the first inning, we would have been in it. Six errors [in the game] contributed to that."

Wheeler drove in Jordyn Fones to score Blue Ridge's only run of the game in the third inning. Fones got on base with a walk and stole second base, and Wheeler hit a full-count pitch for an RBI single.

The Lady Knights also had an opportunity with runners in scoring position in the second inning. Jade O'Neal hit a double and Chandler Morrow, who ran as a courtesy to the catcher, advanced to third on a Melinda Wilson groundout.

With one out, Hannah Mattingly got on base with a walk and stole second. However, neither Morrow nor Mattingly reached home plate, as Carr struck out Reynolds and Jamison Brandt to end the top half of the inning.

"We just didn't execute," Schroeder said. "We couldn't get the big hit."

Carr finished the game as the winning pitcher, striking out 10 Blue Ridge batters while allowing only three hits and conceding two walks. Meanwhile, Wheeler's pitching record fell to 11-3 as she threw five strikeouts and three walks.

In the fifth inning, Lessen scored Tri-Valley's fifth run. After she walked and stole second, Gher drove her to home plate with an RBI single.

In the sixth inning, Carr hit a single to left field over Brandt's outstretched glove at third base. She scored the Lady Vikings' final run when Norman hit a ball to left field that bounced off the left fielder's glove.

Even though Blue Ridge once again failed to get over the Tri-Valley hurdle, he was able to find some perspective minutes after the game ended.

"It's just a game," Schroeder said. "It's not life or death. We'll come back from this. We'll get better as the season goes on."

The Lady Knights will take its 15-4 to Rantoul High School for a Saturday doubleheader. The first game starts at 10 a.m.


Tri-Valley 2, Blue Ridge 0

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