WASHINGTON — Softball is a game of inches, and sometimes those inches can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Linton defeated Washington (12-5), 4-1, in nine innings Wednesday evening at the Sports Complex, snapping the Hatchets 11-game winning streak.
With one run already in in the top of the ninth inning, Washington pitcher Allexis Lemon faced a bases loaded situation with two out, and Linton leftfielder Cassidy Clothier at the plate.
Clothier hit a dribbler down the first base line - Lemon gave chase, but the ball appeared to go foul - at least that’s what Washington felt happened to the ball.
The home plate umpire called the ball fair, scoring two runs to push the Miners lead to 4-1. The senior pitcher and Washington coach Alan Lemon disagreed with the call.
“It should have been foul, it should have been a 2-1 ball game heading into the bottom of the ninth, but that¹s how it goes,” Lemon said.
Washington was able to get two runners on in the bottom of the ninth, but Ashley Elliott’s flyout to centerfield ended the threat and the game.
Washington struggled for much of the game to consistently get runners on base. Senior catcher Paige Hawthorne led off the bottom of the second with a stand up triple to right field, and then scored Washington’s run on a sacrifice bunt by Kerstin Burks. Washington had six innings where they went down in order without putting a runner on base.
“We’ve had some slow pitching the last couple games and then we come in here tonight where Linton can throw it a little better and it throws off your timing a little bit,” Lemon said. “That’s no excuse, we didn’t hit the ball when we needed to, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Once again, Lemon went the distance for the Hatchets, while allowing six hits, she walked two and struck out six. As the ace of the team, she kept the Hatchets in the game and the nine-inning outing won’t hinder her ability to be back in the circle tonight.
“I think she got stronger in the last two innings, because she was a little ticked,” Alan Lemon said. “She can throw everyday as long as her legs hold up.”
Despite the loss, Lemon said he was proud of the way his team battled, and he’s not worried about this loss carrying over to tonight at Gibson Southern.
“We don’t have time to have a letdown,” Lemon said. “We’re going to get on the bus and go to Gibson Southern and try to give them a good game. I don’t mind losing a game like this, because we were in it, and that’s going to make you better as a team. It’s the kind of things we need during the season, so when it comes to sectional time we can pull them off.”
Linton 010 000 003 ¬ 4 5 0
Washington 010 000 000 ¬ 1 5 2
Meurer, Followell (3rd), Meurer (8th) and Booe; Lemon and Hawthorne.