West Port blanks Vanguard
Bauer tosses shutout in Wolf Pack win.
West Port senior Ryleigh Bauer hurled a three-hit shutout and smacked an RBI double to pace the Wolf Pack to a 3-0 win over Vanguard on Thursday night.
The Senior Night win improved West Port, which made several sparkling defensive plays in support of Bauer, to 15-9 overall and gave the Wolf Pack a 2-1 edge over the Knights during the season.
“I think this was our most complete game of the season,” said West Port coach William Brewington. “We got solid pitching from Ryleigh, great defense behind her and some timely hits. I told the girls before the game that this is our field and we’re going to defend our field no matter what. We took a tough loss last week to Vanguard in the MCIAC championship game. We beat them earlier in the season, so this was the rubber game and a win is a win.”
The loss dropped Vanguard, which had a runner thrown out at home plate, third base and second base during the game, to 16-5 on the season.
“It just wasn’t our night,” said Knights coach Carrie Vance. “We had baserunning errors and didn’t move people when we’re supposed to move them. We didn’t execute and had a lot of mental errors that we shouldn’t be making this time of the season.”
Vanguard had an excellent scoring opportunity in the top of the first inning as Aubrey Goodreau walked and Lilly Land lined a one-out single to right field with Goodreau moving to third base.
Bauer, a hard-throwing right-hander, bore down to strike out the next two batters to keep the Knights from seizing momentum and off the scoreboard.
West Port struck quickly in the bottom of the frame as senior Aniyah Dixon walked and Bauer smashed a double to left field off right-hander Kaylee Myers to score Dixon to give the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead.
Vanguard’s Hannah Davis worked Bauer for a leadoff walk to open the second inning, but Bauer recorded a pair of strikeouts and Davis was thrown out at second base to end the threat.
West Port took advantage of a pair of two-out infield throwing errors by the Knights and an infield hit by the speedy Dixon to take a 2-0 lead after two innings of play.
Bauer, who issued four walks and struck out six, cruised through the Vanguard lineup and retired six in a row to give the West Port offense a chance to increase its advantage.
Alyssa Pugh worked a walk off Vanguard reliever Davis to open the fifth inning, advanced to second base on a wild pitch and raced home on a single to center field by Kayleigh Rauch to make it 3-0.
That was more than enough support for Bauer, who escaped a jam in the final inning when Vanguard had a runner thrown out at the plate trying to score on a double to right field by Davis.
Vanguard’s last batter grounded out to second base to end the threat and the game. The Class 4A Knights, who had a four-game winning streak snapped, are back in action on Friday night with a game at South Sumter.
“We’re going to work to get better and I told the girls it’s not how you start it’s how you finish that counts,” coach Vance said.
Class 7A West Port, which has six seniors on its roster, is back on the diamond on Tuesday night with an away game at East Ridge (Clermont).
“I’m excited the way we played tonight,” coach Brewington said. “This group of seniors has helped to take us to the next level where we can compete week in and week out against any team. It’s going to be hard to see them go but what they have built here will continue after they leave.”