The Fairfield Lady Lions returned to Southern Hills Athletic Conference play this afternoon at Fayetteville High School after a well-deserved day off on Wednesday. The game featured the first place Fairfield Lady Lions (7-1, 5-0 SHAC) and the second place Fayetteville Lady Rockets (4-4, 3-2 SHAC) and two of the top pitchers in the conference, Fairfield’s Kaiti White and Fayetteville’s Paige Vilvens. It was a classic softball game as both teams would not disappoint their fans. But again Kaiti White and the Lady Lion defense continued their dominating ways against Southern Hills Athletic Conference opponents. Kaiti White would scatter 4 hits and strike out 12 Lady Rocket batters as the Lady Lion defense made some outstanding plays. The Fairfield Lady Lions have permitted only 1 earned run in five Southern Hills Athletic Conference games.
The Fairfield Lady Lions would take an early 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first inning. With one out Carli Reiber drove a line drive to the centerfield fence for a double. Kaiti White was safe on an infield hit as Carli Reiber advanced to third base. Molly Thackston entered the game as a courtesy runner for White and stole second base. Kourtnie Smith drew a base on balls to load the bases. Emily Smith followed with an rbi infield single that scored Reiber. But Fayetteville’s pitching ace Paige Vilvens would get the next two Lady Lion hitters out to leave the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the first inning with one out, Zoe Vilvens hit a hard ground ball to right field for an apparent single. But Lady Lion right fielder Megan Gragg charged the ball and gunned down Vilvens at first base on a close play. Kaiti White would entice Paige Vilvens to hit a harmless pop fly back to the circle.
The Fairfield Lady Lions would add to their lead with a run in the top of the fourth inning. Emily Williams led off the inning with an infield single. Lauren Arnold advanced Williams to second base with a ground out to the second baseman. Williams then took third base on a wild pitch. Lyndee Spargur reached first base on a fielder’s choice as the defense looked Williams back to third base. Shania Setty followed with the perfect sacrifice bunt to score Emily Williams.
The Fayetteville Lady Rockets would rally in the bottom of the fourth inning. Zoe Vilvens led off the inning with a single up the middle. Paige Vilvens then blasted a double to the fence in centerfield. As Zoe Vilvens raced around the bases, Lady Lion centerfielder Sherry Heckathorn got to the ball quickly and threw a strike to second baseman Carli Reiber who turned and threw a strike to catcher Kourtnie Smith gunning down Zoe Vilvens attempting to score. Paige Vilvens would advance to third base on the throw to the plate. Kaiti White then struck out the next two Lady Rocket batters to end the threat.
Both pitchers shut out the opposing batters in the fifth and sixth innings. Entering the top of the seventh inning the Lady Lions looked to add insurance runs to increase their 2-0 lead. Shania Setty led off the inning with a base hit to right field. Megan Gragg laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Shania Setty to second base. Sherry Heckathorn was safe on an infield single as Setty moved to third base. Sherry Heckathorn stole second base. Carli Reiber grounded out to the first baseman as Shania Setty scored. Kaiti White doubled to the fence in centerfield to drive in Heckathorn and give the Lady Lions a 4-0 lead.
Rachel Laney would single to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, but Kaiti White and the Lady Lions offense would shut the door and seal the victory.
Leading hitters for the Lady Lions: Sherry Heckathorn (1 for 4, 1 run), Carli Reiber (2 for 4, double, 1 run, 1 rbi), Kaiti White (2 for 4, double, 1 rbi), Emily Williams (2 for 3, 1 run, 1 rbi), Shania Setty (1 for 2, 1 run, 1 rbi).
Kaiti White (7-1) was the winning pitcher for Fairfield her fifth shutout of the season. Kaiti’s Pitching line: 7 innings, 4 hits, no runs, no earned runs, no walks, and 12 strikeouts. Page Vilvens suffered the loss for Fayetteville. Vilvens’ pitching line: 7 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, 1 walks, and 7 strikeouts.
Tom Purtell is the assistant coach for the Lady Lions.
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