By Rob Kiser
TIPP CITY — In softball, speed can be lethal.
And the Piqua softball team used it for a fast start Monday against Tippecanoe in GWOC American play and held on for a 13-8 victory.
The win on a bitterly cold night improved Piqua to 3-6 overall and 3-1 in GWOC American play, while Tipp dropped to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in GWOC American play.
Piqua sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the first, with six reaching base on balls that were not hit out of the infield and eight runs scoring.
After a Sarah Marion single, Hannah Anderson and Mariah Blankenship reached on errors.
Kennedy Fashner lined a RBI single down the rightfield line to make it 1-0.
Paige Hinkle reached on a strikeout, when the ball went to the backstop and a runner scored.
Lily Stewart had an infield single, Kylie and Kamy Trissell reached base on fielder’s choices to score runs, Marion had a sacrifice fly on her second at bat in the inning, Anderson had a RBI single and Blankenship had a single before the rally ended.
“Speed kills,” Piqua softball coach Rick Claprood said. “To have kids like Lily Stewart, Kylie and Kamy Trissell and Elizabth Kidwell on the bases — that’s huge. It changes the game.”
Piqua made it 9-0 in the third when Kamy Trissell singled and came around to score on Blankenship’s fielder’s choice.
Then Piqua’s defense — which was a mixed bag of web gems and plays that left you scratching your head — let Tipp back in the game in the home third.
Piqua had four errors in the inning, as Tipp closed to within 9-6.
Hailee Varvel had a RBI double, while three runs — including batter Kaitlyn Mussic — scored when Music doubled and two errors allowed her to circle the bases.
“We did have some bonehead plays,” Claprood said. “That is what we are trying to get away from. We also had some really good plays.”
One of those came in the fourth inning.
On a ground ball to Kylie Trissell at second, she tagged the runner coming from first and threw to Blankenship at first to complete a double play.
“She is really making plays out there for us,” Claprood said. “She went all the over behind second to catch a ball earlier in the game.”
Hinkle had a running catch in the first inning in left field as well, while Kamy Trissell did the same in centerfield to close the second inning.
Piqua took a 13-7 lead to the bottom of the sixth after scoring three runs in the fourth and two in the sixth.
Hinkle reached on an error in the fourth and Haleigh Beougher and Stewart had infield singles.
Kylie Trissell singled in one run, another scored on a wild pitch and Kamy Trissell put down a sacrifice bunt for a third run.
Piqua added two in the sixth.
Kylie Trissell reached on an error, Kamy Trissell singled, Marion scored one run on a fielder’s choice and another scored on a wild pitch.
Then, Piqua got an unusual double play to end the home sixth.
With one out and runner on second and a run in to close the deficit to 13-8, Marion caught a pop up in foul territory. The Tipp runner went to the dugout thinking it was three outs and Marion threw to Blankenship, who stepped on second base to end the inning.
“That was a huge play,” Claprood said. “With two outs, you never know what could happen.”
Fashner and Blankenship combined for the win on the mound, surviving seven Piqua errors.
Fashner pitched the first four innings, scattering four hits and striking out two, walking one and hitting a batter.
Blankenship pitched the final three innings, allowing four hits while striking out one.
Stewart led Piqua at the plate going 3-for-4, while Kamy Trissell was 2-for-3.
And they did it with speed — which on this night, was a game changer.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.