Here are your 2021 I.H.S.A. State Softball Fourth Place team members, coaches, team trainer, and school administrators with the trophy and proudly wearing their medals. Front row: Assistant Coach Dana Tinkle, Alisha Frederick, Kailee Otto, Ryli Kauffman, Kaci Beachy, Charley Condill, and Assistant Coach Ginny Condill. Back row: Athletic Director Nathan Seal, Superintendent Shannon Cheek, Head Coach Jerry Lane, Regann Bowles, Makenzie Brown, Mackenzi Bowles, Cheyenne Chupp, Kendall Burdick, Madison Schweighart, Volunteer Coach Mallory Jones, Trainer Chris Danbury and High School Principal Steffanie Seegmiller.
Injuries hurt ALAH softball as Knights finish fourth in 1A
Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond fell 10-5 to the Orangeville Broncos on Wednesday afternoon despite out-hitting them 11 to nine. The day was not without its share of drama however.
Despite being hit in her non-pitching hand on a line drive in the third, the Orangeville pitcher lasted all seven innings, allowing 11 hits and five runs while striking out six. Ryli Kauffman took the loss after going two innings and allowing four runs on three hits and walking one.
Starting pitcher Makenzie Brown went two innings and allowed one run on two hits and struck out three.
Pitcher Brown helped her cause in the first inning with a solo home run to center field. The Knights scored again in the second inning and led briefly but Orangeville took the lead for good with three runs in the fourth inning. The Broncos then scored three more runs in the sixth inning.
ALAH scattered 11 hits in the game. Alisha Frederick went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Knights. Kailee Otto, Kaci Beachy and Brown each racked up multiple hits.
After Brown’s home run in the top of the first, Orangeville scored one in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the second Cheyenne Chupp doubled followed by a single from Madison Schweighart to score Chupp and the Knights led 2-1.
The top of the third was when the problems began for the Knights. Brown bunts for a single; Frederick hits a hard ball back to the pitcher who falls down to the ground as the ball hits her non-pitching hand. In the melee, Brown makes a try for third where she is tagged out (an ‘unfortunately-placed’ tag as the News-Gazette writer called it) and knocked unconscious forcing the Knights pitcher from the game. The inning ends with the Broncos pitcher being able to somewhat surprisingly continue forcing a pop out, a single and a strikeout. The bottom of the inning with freshman Schweighart now pitching goes well for ALAH with three quick pop outs. Although not able to return to the game because of protocol, after a time Brownie seemed to recover without any problems.
In the top of the fourth the Knights are only able to muster a walk but no other offense. Orangeville scores three to make the score 4-2. In the Knights fifth Otto and Beachy each single but no one is able to cross the plate. Bottom of the fifth and more issues ensue for our Knights.
Pitcher Schweighart is hit in the shin by a line drive right back to the pitcher’s mound forcing her from the game. Ryli Kauffman comes in to pitch and the Knights, with only an 11-man roster, are down to nine players, many of them now having to play in unfamiliar positions including reserves Regann Bowles and Kendall Burdick. The Broncos scored three more runs. (On a side note as the Knights were leaving the field after the trophy presentation and in a great show of sportsmanship, Maddy, with her leg wrapped and her dad carrying her, was greeted by the Tolono Unity team with applause and good wishes as they were waiting to play in their own third place game).
In the Knights half of the sixth they were able to find some offense and score two runs with Mackenzi Bowles and Charley Condill reaching home. However, the Broncos get three runs across the plate in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the seventh, ALAH puts across another run. The game ends on that note with the score Orangeville 10, ALAH 5.
The Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond Knights softball team ended their season with a 22-5 record and a 4th place finish in Class 1A in the state.
Coach Lane had this to say to the News-Gazette after the game: ““We ran out of horses. The inexperience started to show up there with what we did. But you know what, it was fun to be here. Exciting to be here. And all our program will do, hopefully, is go up from here.”
The softball team will lose only two seniors, Makenzie Brown and Mackenzi Bowles, this coming year. Brown will be playing softball at the University of Tulsa and Bowles will be playing basketball at Lakeland College. Coach Jerry Lane stated that, “it’s been a tremendous season. This team is mainly freshman and sophomores with a couple of juniors so making it to this level is quite an accomplishment.” He also stated that he hopes this year’s team and their success will encourage more to join the team next year.
Many fans joined the team on the field after the game for a celebration that included pictures, some tears and a lot of laughs. Also congratulations and many thanks to not only Coach Lane but Assistant Coaches Ginny Condill and Dana Tinkle, volunteer coach Mallory Jones, trainer Chris Danbury but also to ALAH administrators Shannon Cheek, superintendent; Steffanie Seegmiller, principal; and Nathan Seal, athletic director.
The Knights end their tremendous season with a lot of great memories and much more to look forward to in the future. The team and 4th place trophy were welcomed back to each town – Atwood, Hammond, Lovington, Arthur – with a fire truck escort and fans lining the streets. A community reception was held for the girls and the boys track team at the Arthur Firehouse on Tuesday, June 22.