With some timely hitting from Haley Bautch and well played defense by the rest of the Lady Pirates, the Hannibal Middle School softball team got a little bit of revenge Tuesday night with their 3-2 win over Troy. Earlier in the year, Hannibal lost to Troy in extra innings at a tournament.
"It was a good battle the whole time and that is what we had to do," Hannibal coach Zach Campbell said. "They worked really hard on (the defense) this week and last week. We had about a week off. We played Thursday and then had a few more days off, so they were very focused on this game and it meant a lot to them."
Bautch picked up Hannibal's first hit of the game with a single in the bottom of the third. She moved to second on a walk by Olivia Pfiefer and then scored on an RBI single from Peyton Oden to give Hannibal (9-1) a 1-0 lead.
"It was awesome," Bautch said. "I have been in a slump all year, so it really felt great to get ahold of the ball."
Troy tied the game up in the top of the fourth when Hannibal catcher Matti Sutter told the home plate umpire she dropped the ball - after he had already called the runner out at the plate.
"Matti is an honest girl and she said 'I dropped it,'" Campbell said. "I know she did and I think everybody in the stands knows she did. She is honest and we are an honest team. We are going to beat them honestly and she (Sutter) told on herself. That is fine, I just told her to use two hands next time."
Taylor Vandelicht singled in the fourth and moved to second on a sac bunt by Matti Sutter. That brough Bautch back to the plate and she gave Hannibal the lead back with an RBI double to right field. Bautch then came around to score on an RBI double from Kennedy McKay to give the Lady Pirates a 3-1 lead.
"I felt like I gave us all a big confidence boost," Bautch said.
Campbell was pleased with the way Bautch played Tuesday.
"I am proud of her," Campbell said. "She has been working really hard this year on her batting and she has come a very long way. I knew she had it, but she has been in a little slump and she really came out of it in this game and it was a perfect game to do it."
Troy got another run in the top of the fifth, but that was the last of the scoring for both teams.
Troy never gave up though as it constantly had runners on base. Troy left the bases loaded in the fourth and a pair of runners on in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. Every inning though the Lady Pirates defense came up strong.
Page 2 of 2 - "Avery gets in tough situations and she just gets better," Campbell said. "She gets more focused and she starts throwing and hitting her spots inside/outside and keeping it low."
Twice the defense made putouts at third base late in the game and one time, "Our shortstop, Olivia (Pfiefer) does a great job of being fundamentally sound and understanding where she needs to be," Campbell said. "She did a great job with that (today). She made a great catch and got her foot on the bag. We are just lucky that they (Troy) decided not to slide both times."
Bautch, the Hannibal first baseman had a batted ball knock her glove right off her hand in the fourth inning. But she coolly and calmly picked up her mitt and made the play at first for the out.
"I thought it was pretty funny," Bautch said.
Bautch, who is 12-years-old has a first basemen's glove, but she prefers not to use it. Instead, she has a history with the glove that she was using at the time of the play.
"My glove is very old," Bautch said. "I have had it since I was like 8 so it does not have as much padding and it just slipped out of my hand."
Avery Sanders earned her seventh win of the season as she pitched all seven innings for Hannibal. Sanders scattered eight hits and one walk while striking out six.
Hannibal finished the night with 6 hits, four of which came from Bautch and Oden. They were the only Lady Pirate batters to finish the game with multiple hits. Bautch was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI while Oden was 2-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases. Also recording base hits were Vanderlicht and McKay.
"We really focused on making the hits count," Campbell said. "We outhit this team last time we played them, but they beat us. So we really focused on making the hits count and staying sound on defense and just playing smart."
Hannibal's final game of the season will be on Thursday when the Lady Pirates make a road trip to Clopton in search of their 10th win of the season.