Throughout the course of a sports season, the goal for a team is to continue improving.

The Piketon Lady Redstreaks proved that fact Tuesday, despite suffering a 5-1 loss to the hosting Huntington Lady Huntsmen in Division III sectional semifinal play.

When Piketon and Huntington met during the regular season in Scioto Valley Conference play, the Lady Redstreaks lost both games by the 10-run rule, falling 10-0 at Huntington on April 12 and suffering a 12-2 senior night defeat on May 1. The result of Tuesday night’s sectional contest showed improvement for the Lady Redstreaks who managed keep Huntington at bay, for the most part, in the complete game effort.

Starting Tuesday’s sectional game, the Lady Huntsmen took the early lead by scoring a pair of unearned runs in the opening inning. Braiden Collins led off with a double, and Kylee Kellough followed with a single. Then Lillie Snyder reached base via error, allowing both Collins and Kellough to score, 2-0.

In the top of the second inning, Piketon’s Myranda Lansing became her team’s first base runner, reaching first base on a hard hit ball to second base. Aliah Crace entered as a pinch runner and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Madison Metzger. Crace was stranded there, as a strikeout and a groundout brought the frame to a close.

Huntington added a third run in the bottom of the second inning when Cami Coil tripled down the right field line and scored on a groundout from Olivia Steele, 3-0.

Abbey Carter was Piketon’s lone base runner in the top of the third inning, getting hit by a pitch with two outs. The next batter, Maci Conley, grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, Huntington senior Brodey Entler connected on a one-out home run, sending it over the left center field fence. The next player, senior Riley Black, blasted a hard-hit ball to center field, but Piketon’s Cloey Scott was there for the diving catch. Then the inning ended when Piketon catcher Maci Conley secured a foul tip. HHS was up 4-0.

The Lady Redstreaks cut the lead back to three in the top of the fourth. After Huntington’s pitcher Kylee Kellough got the first two Lady Redstreaks on strikeouts, Madison Metzger stepped to the plate and provided a hard-hit ball that got past the shortstop for a single. Cloey Scott was able to get to base next on a softly hit ball. Then Maddy Scott followed with the RBI single to score Metzger, 4-1, and push Cloey Scott to third. A foul tip brought the rally to a close, stranding runners at the corners.

Huntington negated that gain with another home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, this one coming from Cami Coil, that cleared the left field fence to make the lead 5-1.

Piketon continued to fight. Conley had the next big hit, sending the ball over the left fielder’s head for a two-out double in the top of the fifth. Chloe Little doubled to left center field in the seventh for the final PHS hit of the night.

In the complete game loss, Carter gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits, while striking out five batters and walking one. For Huntington, Kellough gave up one run on four hits, while striking out nine batters and hitting one.

From the plate for PHS, Conley and Little each went 1-for-3 with one double. Cloey Scott was also 1-for-3, while Metzger was 1-for-2 with the lone run. HHS was led by Coil, who was 2-for-3 with a triple and a home run. Collins was 2-for-2 with a double and a run, Entler was 1-for-3 with her homer, and Kellough was 1-for-3 with a run.

The Lady Redstreaks will lose a large class of seniors to graduation, including Tyra Zimmerman, Sarah Lamerson, Mary Williams, Cameryn Alexander, Maci Conley, Cloey Scott and Vanessa Moore. Several were seeing their first varsity action this season.

Piketon was also dealt a blow before the season started when Alexander, their three-year varsity pitcher, was lost for the softball season due to having shoulder surgery. Coach Zimmerman said Alexander was allowed to throw one pitch on senior night, as a courtesy offered by the visiting Huntington Lady Huntsmen. Without Alexander in the lineup this year, the Lady Redstreaks lost their pitcher and leadoff batter, along with the big confidence boost that Zimmerman said Alexander gave the team.

Junior Abbey Carter stepped into Alexander’s role for this season.

“Abbey did her best to fill Cam’s role for the team. She threw nearly every inning for us this year and did well,” said Zimmerman. “Abbey will be one of our big contributors next year as a senior, along with Madison Metzger, who is an all-around athlete, Maddy Scott, and Myranda Lansing. Myranda led us in batting average all season. We just need to work her into our defense.”

The Lady Redstreaks will be losing a big contributor behind the plate as well with the graduation of senior catcher Maci Conley. Senior center fielder Cloey Scott will be gone with her two years of experience, as will infielder Mary Williams, who played at first and third. Senior Vanessa Moore logged some time at second, Sarah Lamerson also played at first some, and Tyra Zimmerman also contributed.

“Mary did a great job this year at first and third. She is amazing and was voted Second Team All-Scioto Valley Conference to lead us,” said Zimmerman. “Maci was a wall for us and caught nearly all of the innings. All of the seniors were good in their own right.”

Piketon had the opportunity to close the season with victory Wednesday evening, winning a make-up contest at Paint Valley, 9-5, to complete the SVC schedule.

“We played all 17 girls and held the 9-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh inning, and they hit a few gaps,” said Zimmerman. “Abbey Carter pitched an amazing game. Our team played very solid defensively. Not many times do you get the chance to end the season with a win. We needed that. We hope we can build up from there in the future.”

Piketon scored a run in each of the first three innings, before unloading with six in the fourth inning to go up 9-0. The Lady Bearcats scored all five of their runs in the bottom of the seventh.

That first inning run was scored after Maci Conley led off with a single and scored on a hit from Madison Metzger, 1-0.

Tyra Zimmerman scored the run in the second inning by reaching on a fielder’s choice and eventually coming home on base hit from Abbey Carter, 2-0.

Cloey Scott had a one-out single to start the offense in the third inning and she eventually came home on a hit from Zimmerman, 3-0.

Piketon scored all six of the runs in the fourth inning on a two-out rally. Mary Williams had started with a one-out walk and moved to third on a double from Madison Metzger. Williams scored on an error by the Paint Valley catcher. Three straight walks issued to Piketon players pushed Metzger home, 5-0.

Next Sarah Lamerson hit a grounder to shortstop that was misplayed, allowing Cloey Scott to scoreAbbey Carter drew the next walk to plate Chloe Little. Maci Conley followed with a single, sending Zimmerman home. Lamerson was also able to score on the throw, but the inning ended when Carter was caught trying to reach third. At that point, Piketon was ahead 9-0.

Five hits and a pair of Piketon errors allowed the Lady Bearcats to put five runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh. The game came to an end when Piketon’s Angela Blanton secured a fly ball in left field for the final out.

Metzger finished 2-for-5 with a double, one run and one RBI. Conley was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Zimmerman was 1-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs, while Carter was 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Lamerson also picked up an RBI.

Of the five runs Carter surrendered in the complete game pitching effort, none were earned. She gave up seven hits, while striking out three batters and walking one.

Piketon ends the year with an overall record of 7-17. The Lady Redstreaks finished SVC play in a tie for sixth place with Paint Valley at 4-10.

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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