By Rob Kiser
SPRINGFIELD — The Piqua softball team was one bad inning from knocking off a strong Kenton Ridge team — a traditional Division II power — Friday night at Ed Foulk Field.
But, two errors and a fielder’s choice opened the door for a four-run fifth inning for the Lady Cougars — to erase a 3-1 Piqua lead and win 5-3.
“We had them on the ropes,” Piqua coach Rick Claprood said. “Two errors. But, I am not going to get upset with the kids over a loss like that. That is a really good team.”
With an error and a RBI single by Bailie Frazier to make it 3-2.
With two outs and two on, Mykee Holtz hit a single and a two-base error allowed both runs to score.
Mariyah Burkhardt followed with a RBI triple to make it 5-3.
But, Piqua wasn’t done.
Following single by Kyla Blankenship, Kendra Forness reached on an error and Mariah Blankenship walked to load the bases, before Carly Turner got a strikeout to end the threat. Neither team would score after that.
“We had the bases loaded, but she is a really good pitcher and tough to score on,” Claprood said.
Kenton Ridge had scored in the second to go up 1-0.
Burkhardt singled, moved to third on two wild pitches and scored with two outs on another wild pitch.
Piqua answered with three runs in the third.
Megan Anderson singled with one out and Lexi Gordon walked.
With runners on second and third, Alyssa Jones drilled a triple to leftfield to give Piqua a 2-1 lead and Reynna Lavey followed with a single to make it 3-1, before Turner got a double play to end the rally.
“Huge hit by Alyssa (Jones),” Claprood said. “That was big to get three runs off that pitcher.”
It looked like Kenton Ridge might tie it in the home third, before a web gem by centerfielder Megan Anderson.
With two outs and a runner on, Holtz hit a shot that appeared to be ticketed for extra bases.
Instead, Anderson chased it down just short of the fence to make a running catch.
“I would say that was pretty good,” Claprood said. “To chase a ball down almost at the fence. Megan (Anderson) played really well tonight.”
It was another strong outing for Kyla Blankenship, as Kenton Ridge has just two hits before the big inning in the fifth.
Blankenship struck out seven.
Kenton Ridge improved to 3-0, while Piqua dropped to 1-1.
The Indians will play at Trotwood-Madison Monday, before hosting the Rams Tuesday in GWOC North action.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.