Vikings blanked in regional by Cabell Midland
ONA — With its season on the line, it didn’t take long for Cabell Midland’s softball team to set the tone for the day against Ripley.
Pitcher Jess Terry struck out the side and slugger Rielly Lucas belted her 13th home run of the year in the first inning to propel the Knights to a 5-0 win over the Vikings in game two of the Class AAA, Region IV softball series on Tuesday.
“We played as good today as we played bad (Monday),” Cabell Midland coach Herman Beckett said. “They came out with a different mindset today and it showed. Everybody was on the same page and they wanted it bad.”
With the win, the teams will meet again at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Ripley to decide who will advance to the state tournament.
One day after pitching in the 4-1 loss to the Vikings, Terry was back in the circle for the Knights.
Terry came out with something to prove and did so quickly, striking out seven of the first nine batters – all swinging.
She finished the game allowing just three hits while striking out 12 in the win.
“I was extremely motivated,” Terry said. “We don’t want our season to be over with. We want to keep winning and go as far as we can go.”
Beckett said there was a little extra juice on Terry’s pitches as she kept command of the game.
“She was dropping it real good today,” Beckett said. “That’s the hardest I’ve seen her throw all year – maybe ever. She was bringing it and that changeup she had was fabulous.”
While Terry took care of business in the circle, Lucas got Terry all the runs she needed in the first.
After Hailey Roe singled to get on base, Lucas took the first offering she saw on a lined shot over the right field wall to provide a 2-0 lead.
Lucas said she wasn’t sure if the lined shot would clear the wall or not when it left the bat.
“I knew it was a solid hit because it felt really good off the bat, but honestly I thought it was going to hit the top of the fence,” Lucas said.
Terry then had a part in the final three runs, scoring on a sacrifice fly from Olivia Pelfrey in the third before adding an RBI single in the fourth and an RBI double in the fifth with both scoring K.K. Wallis to provide the final margin.
For Cabell Midland (25-9), it was all about the pre-game as Terry and Lucas each said the mental process prior to the game keyed the quick start.
“Before the game, we were talking about how we needed to come out confident,” Lucas said. “We need to come out tomorrow with the same confidence and hype in the dugout. When our dugout is loud, we play good. That’s all.”
Ripley’s best chance to score came in the third inning with the score still 2-0.
The Vikings (23-6) got a double from McKennan Hall and a walk to Kaitlyn Swisher to put two runners on, but Cabell Midland’s Addison Perdue made a diving catch at the right-field foul line on a sinking liner from Belle Carte to end the threat.
Carte later added a triple, but was stranded at third in the sixth inning.
The loss was Ripley’s first by more than two runs all season. Four of their six losses have been by one run.