Lady Devils crash party

BY MATTHEW SPRKS
FOR THE DAILY INDEPENDENT

 

CANNONSBURG Russell’s trio of seniors was hitting on all cylinders on a night when Boyd County honored two of its own.

Annalee Miller, Sara Hieneman and Alexis Maynard cranked out a combined seven hits, but Hieneman provided the grandest of them all.

Her grand slam broke open a tie ball game on Tuesday night before the Lady Devils fought off a late Lady Lions surge to win, 10-7, at the Boyd County Softball Complex.

Hieneman belted her 12th home run of the season and 34th of her career. She said her hitting philosophy always stays the same. She wants to produce scoring opportunities for her team.

Mission accomplished.

“I honestly just try to put the ball in play when the bases are loaded to score runs,” Hieneman said. “The main thing is just getting my hips turned and snapping my wrists at the ball. It felt nice.”

Hieneman added a single to her final tally. She scored once and drove in four. Miller went 4 for 5 and scored twice. Maynard plated two runs with a double to get Russell on the board in the first inning.

“We are trying to lead this team the best that we can and set an example,” Hieneman said. “I think Annalee and Alexis are very good players and we all played well tonight.”

Boyd County paid tribute to two important players on Senior Night. Lady Lions coach Geoff Stewart said twins Hunter and Houston Reeves have meant a great deal to the team during their careers.

“Hunter and Houston will both be missed,” Stewart said.

“(They are) two of the most athletic and hardworking players that I have had come through the program.

They will be sorely missed, not just as players, but as people in general.”

Houston sustained a knee injury during basketball season and missed her senior campaign on the softball field. Stewart said he had to find a way to get her out on the diamond one last time. She was in the starting lineup and took the field for one pitch. She was at second base.

“It brought a lot of emotions to our team to see her out on the field,” Stewart said. “I wanted her to start and see that first pitch. She had her name announced. That meant a lot to her. She was devastated with her injury because she is such a great softball player.

She has been missed this year. She is a good team leader.”

Russell (25-9) took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the second but it was quickly erased on a three-run blast by Maddie Hale. Hunter Reeves added an RBI single to tie the game at 4-4.

“She is hitting the ball really well,” Stewart said of Hale. “I couldn’t tell you how many multi-hit games she has had lately. Her average is climbing up to .400 mark.”

The score remained the same until the sixth frame. Camryn Ratliff, Grace Osborn and Miller each hit a single for the Lady Devils to begin the inning. Hieneman’s dinger left the yard in a hurry to give Russell back its four-run cushion.

Russell coach Dave Wheeler said he could have sent the runner after Miller’s hit, but he was perfectly satisfied with Hieneman at the dish with the bases juiced.

“She hit the ball well all day,” Wheeler said.

“In the first inning, she hit a line drive to the shortstop. It might have been the best ball she hit the whole night. I told (assistant) coach (T.J.) Maynard that before the night was over she is going to lose one. She was really locked in and came up in a great situation.”

The Lady Devils totaled seven hits in their six-run sixth inning.

Haven Layne produced an RBI single and Madison Darnell had a sacrifice fly.

Russell met its season average of 10.8 runs a game. Wheeler said it starts with the top of his order.

“It’s really good to have three seniors that lead by example,” Wheeler said. “All three are different types of players. They do a lot of things differently and I wouldn’t trade them for nobody. They work really hard and they have been a real positive influence with the younger players.”

Down to its final atbat, Boyd County (1714) did not go down quietly. The Lady Lions loaded the bases and scored three times on a fielder’s choice, a groundout and a RBI single from Sarah Shavers.

“I told them before the bottom of the seventh, ‘Go down fighting,’” Stewart said.

“That means a lot. We can’t win this thing with one at-bat. That’s what we did. We went down fighting.”

RUSSELL 310 006 0— 10 14 1 BOYD CO. 040 000 3— 7 7 3 Layne and Ratliff; Haney, Layne (7) and Hale. W—Layne. L—Haney. 2B— Miller (R), Maynard (R), Hale (BC). HR— Hale (BC), Hieneman (R).





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