In a must win Southern Hills Athletic Conference game, the Fairfield Lady Lions (12-6, 8-3 SHAC) did exactly that with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat the Fayetteville Lady Rockets (13-9, SHAC 9-2) 4-1. The Fairfield Lady Lions entered the game 2 games behind Fayetteville in the loss column in SHAC Division II. With the victory, Fairfield is only one game behind Fayetteville. Fairfield has two games left with Manchester and Fayetteville will play undefeated Eastern Brown from SHAC Division I on Saturday. Peebles is also a game behind Fayetteville with 3 SHAC losses.
The game featured two of the top pitchers in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference in Paige Vilvens of Fayetteville and Kaiti White of Fairfield. Both pitchers were outstanding this afternoon, pitching 5 innings of shutout softball keeping opposing batters off balance. Fayetteville would put a runner on base in the first and fourth innings, but Kaiti White would end the threat. Fairfield put a runner on base in the first, second, fourth, and fifth inning, but Paige Vilvens would also end the threat.
Kaiti White would strike out the side in order in the top of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Fairfield Lady Lions would explode for 4 runs. Carli Reiber drew a base on balls on a quality at bat to lead off the inning. Kaiti White would follow with a base hit to centerfield advancing Reiber to second base. Layla Hattan would load the bases with an infield hit. It looked like Paige Vilvens would get out of the bases loaded jam as she struck out the next two Lady Lion hitters. But Molly Thackston stepped to the plate and quickly fell behind no balls and two strikes. Molly would then lace an outside pitch to right field for a single that drove in Reiber and Hayleigh Lowe running for White, as Hattan took third and Thackston advanced to second base on the throw. Megan Gragg was safe on a fielder’s choice as Hattan scored and Thackston slid in safely to third base. Madi Fox completed the scoring with a single to knock in Thackston. All the scoring coming with two outs.
Fayetteville is never a team to lie down and quit, as Paige Vilvens led off the top of the seventh inning with a towering home run over the centerfield fence. But Kaiti White would strike out the next three Lady Rocket batters to seal the victory.
Leading hitters for Fairfield: Carli Reiber (0 for 2, walk, 1 run), Kaiti White (1 for 3, 1 run), Layla Hattan (1 for 3, 1 run), Lauren Arnold (1 for 2, walk), Molly Thackston (1 for 3, 1 run, 2 rbi), Megan Gragg (1 for 3, 1 rbi), Madison Fox (1 for 2, 1 rbi).
Paige Vilvens was 3 for 3 with a solo home run for Fayetteville.
Kaiti White (11-5) was the winning pitcher this afternoon for Faifield. Kaiti’s pitching line: 7 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, no walks, and 15 strikeouts. Paige Vilvens ( 12-6) suffered the loss for Fayetteville. Paige’s pitching line: 6 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts.
Tom Purtell is the Assistant Coach of the Fairfield Lady Lions softball team.