SV softball does what needed to be done to get to semistate title game

·4 min read

Jun. 4—South Vermillion softball coach Sean Boardman would not paint the Wildcats' 4-2 win over Pekin Eastern in the Class 2A Forest Park Semistate as a masterpiece.

However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder come tournament time, and the pretty picture for the Wildcats is to see their name move further up the 2A softball bracket.

Home runs by Hannah Boardman and Makenzie Mackey provided most of the offense as South Vermillion advanced to the semistate title clash against North Posey at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the diamond on the campus of Cedar Crest Intermediate School. The Vikings were 2-1 victors over Eastern Hancock in the early semifinal.

"We weren't as sharp as what I would have hoped. We did what we needed to when we needed to," Coach Boardman said.

Neither the Wildcats nor the Musketeers had flawless pitching. There was only one half-inning in the game where a baserunner didn't reach.

South Vermillion's difference was a bit of power and some timely glove work. The power was brought to bear three batters into the game. After Kenley Minor had walked, Boardman hit an opposite field home run that wrapped around the foul pole in right field to make it 2-0.

Pekin Eastern, winners of the Clarksville Sectional, answered back in the third inning. After leadoff hitter Maleah Blevins was hit by a pitch, Kylie Batt and Natalie Blevins both singled, the last of them scoring Maleah Blevins. A wild pitch by South Vermillion starting pitcher Rylie Richey tied the contest.

"We were maybe a little to amped up. We needed to settle in and play a little softball," Coach Boardman said.

South Vermillion, the home team on the scoreboard, answered back directly. Boardman drew a one-out walk and Kalli Crouch singled. A passed ball moved both up a base and then a sacrifice fly to center by Taylor Wilson made it 3-2. Initially, Crouch was called out at home as she tried to take an extra run on an errant throw and was called out on the relay back to the plate. On umpire consultation, she was put back at third base due to obstruction, but ended up being stranded anyway.

The Musketeers (17-13) threatened in each inning apart from the sixth after that. South Vermillion turned to Makenzie Mackey in the bottom of the fifth to relieve Richey, but that was in the plans all along.

"We wanted to give her some time to prepare for the next game so she was loose and ready to go. We envisioned that happening. I think Rylie did a good job. There was a runner at first, there was no dire need to make the move at the that time. It was either then or two outs later, so I just did it then," said Coach Boardman on the pitching change.

Mackey was the beneficiary of South Vermillion's most important defensive play of the game. With a runner on first, Sidney Patton hit a slow roller up the middle that seemed to have eyes for center field. However, Crouch made a diving stop near the second base bag and then reached just enough to touch second base for the force out.

In the bottom of the sixth, Mackey did her talking with her bat. She slammed a leadoff home run to center to make it 4-2.

It seemed it would be a valuable insurance run as the Musketeers didn't go quietly. A leadoff single by Meadow Creech was followed by a fielder's choice where South Vermilion third baseman Rayven Wilson dove at Creech for a tag out, but missed the mark and Creech was safe at third base as runners were on the corners with one out.

Mackey took the air out of the Pekin Eastern rally by inducing fly outs to end the game.

With the win, the Wildcats (25-3) went one step further than they did in 2019 and 2021 when they lost to Union County in the semistate semifinal. North Posey (23-1) has two excellent pitchers it can call upon: Erin Hoehn (12-1, 1.03) and Addie Fullop (8-0, 0.61).

"The thing with us is we have to play our game and play loose. They have a really good pitcher. We know that. We're ready to battle. We just have to stay disciplined and in the zone," Coach Boardman said.