Louisville Shuts Down West Branch – Softball
Louisville 6, West Branch 0
The Louisville Leopards Varsity Softball team blanked the visiting West Branch Warriors 6-0 Thursday Evening on the Diamond of Dreams. With the victory, Louisville improves to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in the NBC.
The pitching duo of Sarah Cantley and Morgan Harris baffled the West Branch hitters during the combined shutout. Cantley started the contest, pitched the first 4 innings, gave up 4 hits, and struck out 8. Harris finished off the Warriors, earning her second victory of the season. In 3 innings of relief, she allowed just 2 hits and struck out 3.
The Leopards offense was led by Sydney McKeever who finished 3-for-4 at the plate and Kaycee Ollis who batted 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of RBIs. Alex Fankhauser and Teagan Rice also finished with 2 hits a piece.
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The turning point in the game came in the top of the fourth inning. Kelsey Byers began the inning with a single to left field and a pair of Louisville errors allowed West Branch to load the bases with nobody out. Unfazed by her predicament, Cantley struck out the next 3 batters in a row to halt the Warriors best scoring threat of the night.
While the Leopards pitching kept the West Branch bats at bay, the Louisville offense struggled through the first four frames. The floodgates were lifted in the fifth as the Leopards exploded for 5 runs.
Savannah Miner wasted no time in sending the first pitch of the inning over the left-center field fence to give Louisville the 1-0 lead. Back-to-back singles by Rice and Sydney McKeever were manufactured into RBI singles for Ollis and Fankauser. Two batters later, Rylee Squire drove in Ollis and then Ellie Jackson singled in Fankahuser to make it 5-0 Leopards.
The Warriors put a pair of runners on with only 1 out in the sixth inning. However, a Rice to Peyton McKeever to Squire 4-6-3 double play sent the Louisville fielders celebrating into the dugout.
West Branch made one last push in the seventh inning. They loaded the bases with 2 outs looking to get on the board. But the goose egg became permanent when Harris fanned the Warriors final batter looking.
The previously unbeaten Warriors (4-1, 1-1) were averaging 11 runs per game coming into the contest in outscoring their first four opponents 44-12. West Branch was held to just 6 hits in 30 at-bats Thursday. The Warriors were led by Kelsey Byers who batted 2-for-4 and Grace Heath who went 2-for-4 with a double.
With the victory, Louisville has now defeated West Branch in 25 of their past 26 meetings overall. The Lady Leopards now lead the all-time series 45-16 and have shutout the Warriors 8 times overall. The last shutout was also a 6-0 Louisville victory on April 24, 2014 at West Branch.
JV: Louisville 19, West Branch 2, 5 Innings
UP NEXT: The Lady Leopards will next travel to Jackson to take on the Polar Bears on Saturday, April 1 starting at Noon.
VARSITY BOX SCORE
LEOPARDS 6, WARRIORS 0
West Branch 000-000-0–0-6-0
WEST BRANCH WARRIORS VARSITY BATTING
WEST BRANCH WARRIORS VARSITY PITCHING
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS VARSITY BATTING
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS VARSITY PITCHING
Records: Louisville 2-0, 2-0; West Branch 4-1, 1-1