Lady Eagles Win Tri-Rivers Softball Title
By David Sharp
Regina Peavler got a hit in her first varsity at bat during an October 6, 2003 conference softball game with North Shelby. Lady Raider hurler Kelsey Resa went on to pitch for Missouri Western State University.
Lauren Stansberry tripled Peavler home with the winning run for a 4-3 Knox County win.
Future two time NAIA All American softball player Katie McMahon was touched for a run during a driving rain storm in what proved to be the first half of a suspended game.
Knox County secured their first undefeated conference softball championship since the 1989 season with their 2003 victory.
The Lady Eagles shared the conference crown with Putnam County in 2002. Clark County beat the Lady Midgets in their final conference game of the season, making Knox and Putnam County 6-1 in conference play.
Devin Gudehus lined a home run over the center field fence for what proved to be the game winning hit in a 6-3 Knox County win at Schuyler County.
The Lady Eagles kept their overall record unblemished at 15-0, 5-0 in the conference with a 6-3 win.
The September 22, 2011 varsity softball victory secured Knox County’s first undefeated Tri-Rivers Conference championship since 2003. Devin Gudehus was 3-4 at bat with two runs batted in.
The Knox County shortstop lined the softball off Schuyler County pitcher Alexis Boas left knee with two out in the fifth inning. Boas left the contest and did not return.
She came back to pitch the championship game of the Schuyler County Tournament, striking out six Scotland County batters and stroking two hits in an 8-5 win.
Knox County carried a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning. Schuyler County (8-5, 2-1) fought to the last pitch, scoring a pair of two out runs. “We gave up five runs when we didn’t cut a ball off or threw a ball away,” Schuyler County coach Steve Stock said.
“You can’t win when that happens. That’s something we have to get better at. We didn’t get enough done offensively,” Coach Stock said.
“Rachel Poston kept us in check. They did what they needed to do to win the conference. We had two or three big scoring opportunities and took strike three. If you are going to be a conference champ, you can’t do that.”
Alexia Boas struck out the first three Knox County hitters in succession. Rachel Poston returned the favor, fanning the first two Lady Rams in first inning play. Whitney McElhinney forced an error. Chloe Robinson flew out to Hannah Strange in right field for the final out.
Devin Gudehus led off the Knox County second inning. “She struck out our first three batters,” Devin Gudehus said of her second inning at bat. “(Alexis Boas) was pitching outside, so I decided to crowd the plate.”
“I wanted to take the ball to right field. The ball went to center and it worked.”
Schuyler County threw out four or five Knox County base runners. Autumn Bailey took a run away from the Lady Eagles when she threw Olivia Nichols out at third base attempting to advance on a fly ball.
Mackenzie Hustead headed home on a Devin Gudehus third inning fly ball to left field. The umpires ruled the run did not cross the plate before double play the third out was recorded.
“It’s always better to be more aggressive on the bases,” Devin Gudehus said. Knox County scored two runs on daring base running plays. Lauren Dale reached on a no out second inning error. Sarah Dooley put the ball in play. Schuyler County threw Dale out at the plate for the second out.
Hannah Strange doubled to right field. Sarah Dooley scored the second Lady Eagle run. A throwing error put Strange on third base. Alexis Boas fanned a KCHS batter to end the inning.
Knox County pressured the Ram defense in their third inning. Mackenzie Hustead walked and stole second base. Bailey Couch flew out. Schuyler County completed their inning ending double play, keeping the score at 2-0 Lady Eagles after three innings.
Lauren Dale led off the KCHS fourth with a hit. The next two batters flew out. Hannah Strange singled, putting runners on first and third. Strange moved up when Shanna Elder walked to load the bases with two down.
Alexis Boas won a battle with Mackenzie Hustead to end the inning. Alexis Boas led off the fourth inning with a walk. Chloe Robinson stroked a one out hit. An infield error put Lady Rams on first and second base with one out.
Rachel Poston bowed her neck and fanned the next two batters. Knox County led 2-1 after four innings of softball. “This is one of the goals we set this season,” Rachel Poston said of the Lady Eagles undefeated conference championship.
“We wanted to play our hearts out. We left it all out on the field,” the KCHS junior pitcher said. “We are 15-0 on the season. I can’t wait to come to the Schuyler County Tournament on Saturday.
Bailey Couch stroked a Knox County hit with one out in the fifth inning.
Devin Gudehus reached base with Couch going to second on the line drive hit. Medical personnel attended to Alexis Boas for several minutes before the Lady Ram pitcher was taken for treatment.
Lauren Dale drove in the third Knox County run with a hit. Caley Sessions and Amber Vanlandingham had back to back fifth inning hits in the Schuyler County fifth inning. Hannah Strange caught Whitney McElhinney s hit bid for the final out. Knox County led 3-1 after five innings.
Rachel Poston was struck by a Chloe Robinson pitch leading off the Knox County sixth inning. Deianeira Burgess entered the game as a courtesy runner for the Knox County pitcher.
Sarah Dooley bunted. Schuyler County threw the ball away trying to retire Dooley at first base. Burgess raced home. Shanna Elder singled Sarah Dooley home for a 5-1 Knox County lead.
Devin Gudehus plated Olivia Nichols with the sixth Knox County run. Nichols was 2-4 at bat with a run scored. “Our defense played really well. We have all season,” infielder Olivia Nichols said.
“We made some big plays. We have been working a lot on live pitching in practice,” Olivia Nichols said. “Hitting off of (Marcie Stansberry) and off Rachel (Poston) has really helped us.”
Abbey Wheeler drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lauren Dale deprived Jacqueline Bushnell of a hit, snaring a line drive at third base. The Lady Eagles were able to keep Caley Sessions off base most of the night. That was a big key to the victory.
Hannah Strange caught a fly ball from Sessions for the second out. Whitney McElhinney singled, loading the bases with two out. Chloe Robinson drilled an RBI hit. A run scored when the ball was not handled cleanly in the outfield.
Rachel Poston struck out Mallory Haley on a 1-2 offering for the game clincher. Rachel Poston struck out seven of her 32 batters faced. Poston walked two on seven hits. One of the three Ram runs was earned.
Knox County scored six runs on 12 hits and three errors. Lauren Dale was 2-4 at bat with an RBI. Hannah Strange was 2-3 at the dish with an RBI. Devin Gudehus finished 3-4 with two runs scored and two more batted in.
Schuyler County scored three runs on seven hits and four errors. Whitney McElhinney and Chloe Robinson were 2-4 each for Schuyler County. Alexis Boas fanned four of her 22 batters faced in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Boas allowed seven Knox County hits and three runs, one earned.
Alexis Boas was the losing hurler. Chloe Robinson pitched to nine batters in 2 and a third innings. Knox County scored three runs charged to Robinson, none earned on five hits and a hit batsman.
Marcie Stansberry joins an exclusive club of playing on a conference championship team and coaching another at the same school. “I’m happy for the girls. We knew Schuyler County was going to be tough. They wouldn’t let up.”
“It was unfortunate what happened to their pitcher. I know it changed their ball game up unexpectedly,” Marcie Stansberry said. “You have to give them credit for hanging in there, putting runners on base and not giving up on the game.”
“I think Rachel Poston did a nice job for us. She stayed level headed on the mound. You don’t think about being the pitcher on the other side when (Alexis Boas was hit by the line drive), said the former all region Knox County pitcher.
“It’s scary to go back in there. I think she kept her composure and did well. Every game is a team effort for us. We don’t rely on one person,” Coach Stansberry said.
“We met one of our goals tonight. We wanted to be conference champions.”