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Plymouth hangs on to down New London

By MICHAEL GRECO • May 18, 2016 at 6:00 AM

SHELBY — It’s a big week for the Plymouth and New London softball teams.

In the first of three straight games between the Firelands Conference schools, the Lady Red held on for a 2-1 win in the second Division IV district semifinal at Shelby High School Tuesday.

The win moves Plymouth to 19-4 overall and a trip to the district final for the second straight season.

The Lady Red, the top seed in the district, will face No. 2 Lucas, a 13-6 first-game winner over Mohawk, at 5 p.m. Friday with a trip to the Kent regional at stake.

“It’s a beautiful feeling,’’ Plymouth coach Tracy Arnold said. “One goal is to win the (Firelands) conference and another is to make it a bit further in the tournament.’’

Plymouth made two first-inning runs hold up.

Mallory Miller and Katie Bushey led off with singles against New London starter Kathy Vangilder. Leslie Mack pinch ran for Bushey.

Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Miller touched home on a passed ball and Janet Arnold hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate Mack.

“If we could get a quick start, we tend to finish well,’’ Arnold said. “Kudos to their picher. New London has a sound team.’’

That was it for the Lady Red in scoring.

Plymouth pitcher Addyson Horne worked through the opening two innings scoreless.

In the third, the Ladycats (14-8) reduced the defiicit by one run.

Ashley Parr smacked a two-out single. She swiped second and third bases and scored on a Vangilder double to left center.

New London had two runners on in the fourth and fifth innings, but couldn’t score either time.

In the top of the seventh, Emily Dalton led off with a hit. Parr put down a sacrifice fly, moving Dalton to second.

But Horne induced a line out and pop out to finish the game.

“We got clutch hits by putting the ball in play, but we didn’t get clutch hits when we had runners in scoring position,’’ Ladycats coach Chip Motolik said. “Those are two real good teams and it was fun to watch. This hurts.’’

Horne ended up giving up an earned run on nine hits with a walk and 11 strikeouts.

“When we needed to come together and make a stop, we did,’’ Arnold said. “This is a special group.’’

Morgan Chaffins led the Lady Red with two hits, while Miller, Bushey, Tristen Wiley and Haven Keene added one each.

Vangilder and Delaney Porter posted two hits apiece for New London.

Parr, Rylee Haswell, Alyssa Hartman, Gabby Ledbetter and Dalton all contributed one hit.

Vangilder pitched all six innings. She gave up two earned runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

“We had solid defense behind her,’’ Motolik said. “Ashley made a great diving catch in the sixth inning. This group is fun to watch. That’s why it makes it so hard.’’

The teams are scheduled to play at Plymouth today in a continuation game.

The Lady Red, who are 11-1 in the FC and with a two-game advantage at the top, lead 6-2 in the top of the fourth inning from a contest which was stopped on May 10 due to weather.

Then, the scene shifts to New London (9-3) for the final regular-season game Thursday.

“Our girls have a lot of heart,’’ Motolik said. “They’ll show up and be ready to play.’’


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