In Wapakoneta’s 7-4 win over Shawnee in girl’s high school softball action Tuesday, one thing was for sure.
No one wanted to discuss the big elephant in the room.
With seven Shawnee varsity players serving suspensions for alcohol consumption, six of them starters, both teams came into the game facing enormous pressure.
The Redskins were put into a position of if they win, they were supposed to. If they lost, they lost to a team with a decimated staff. Shawnee players faced an equally tough predicament of facing off against one of the toughest teams in the league without its starters and leaving many wondering if they could compete.
However, when Courtney Knippen cleanly fielded a sharp grounder and completed the throw to first to end the game, both teams had passed stiff tests with flying colors.
“The girls had a ton of pressure on them,” Wapakoneta head coach Bill Sammons said after the game. “Our girls felt the pressure and worked through it. My girls came in here tonight and played hard. Their (Shawnee’s) program is amazing. We were put it a tough situation and we played through it.”
Shawnee head coach Lou Seddelmeyer was equally just as happy with his team’s play.
“We were 22-1 last year and we brought a lot back,” Seddelmeyer said. “We have a real good program right now. “We came in here tonight missing seven players and we did a nice job moving the ball around. The freshmen did a great job. I couldn’t be happier with our performance.
Things looked bleak early for the Redskins as Shawnee managed to jump out to a 3-0 lead. The Redskins were getting plenty of base runners on in the early going but had problems converting them to runs. Sammons said simple mental adjustments got them over the hump.
“We were being a little aggressive,” Sammons said. “We became a little more picky on the pitches we went for after the first couple of innings and we were able to work the count a little more in our favor.
That adjustment paid off big in the bottom of the third inning. Carli Sammons scored on a passed ball and throwing error. Katie Sawmiller singled to left scoring Courtney Knippen, and Ashlie Cox’s fielder’s choice grounder to short scored Sawmiller. Stacy Miller’s grounder scored Marcie Grothause to complete a four run inning.
Courtney and Ashley Knippen both recorded RBI hits in the fifth and Courtney drove in another run in the sixth to give Wapakoneta a cushion.
Renee Lovett was consistent on the mound, scattering six hits and walking none in the win.
Wapakoneta, now 4-2 on the season, will travel to play Kenton Thursday. Shawnee, now 5-1, plays St. Marys.