T-D HS Softball

Ligonier Valley edges Chestnut Ridge girls

By: Cory Isenberg

BEDFORD — There were plenty of mistakes to go around Monday in the PIAA Class AA first-round softball contest between Ligonier Valley and Chestnut Ridge with the two schools combining for 11 errors.
The Rams scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the seventh then held off the Lions for a 6-5 victory.
Ligonier (18-3), which will play Riverside, a 6-0 winner over Curwensville on Thursday at a site and time to be determined, was led by senior shortstop Maddy Grimm.
The Kent State-bound Grimm went 2-for-3 with a home run, scored three runs and drove in three more.
“We just had to fight to the end and everyone has to find whatever it takes to the win the game,” said Grimm, who was heading to graduation ceremonies.
Grimm helped Ligonier get on the board first, turning a muffed ball in the outfield into a run in the top of the third.
“Maddy is Maddy,” Ligonier coach Mark Zimmerman said. “No matter what she does it doesn’t surprise me, and I knew that when those two girls were on the ground that it doesn’t take Maddy very long to get around the bases.”
The Lions (20-3) evened the game on a Kristi Batzel solo homer in the bottom of the third, then took the lead on several Ligonier errors.
Grimm hit a two-run home run in the fifth.
“We were definitely outside the strike zone when she hit the two-run homer to center,” Ridge coach Chuck Corle said. “We were trying not to let her hit, but our pitcher just didn’t get it outside far enough.”
Chestnut Ridge answered back in the bottom of the inning as Mackenzie Feather (two runs scored), Jen Carthew and pitcher Bridgit Yothers hit three straight singles and Ligonier committed an error in the outfield to take a 5-3 lead.
Courtney Frappier, who was 2-for-4 and scored a run for the Rams, opened the sixth with a double and scored on another error to pull Ligonier to within a run.
In the top of the seventh, three Ridge errors helped Ligonier Valley put two runs on the board to take the lead for good.
“It’s hard to swallow,” Corle said. “We booted three balls in the infield when all we needed was one more out. In the last inning, it just looked like we’d never fielded.”
Winning pitcher Hailey Umbaugh coaxed a pair of flyouts and had a strikeout to end the game.  One of the outs came courtesy of Grimm, who in addition to her hitting contributions, was a force in the infield, with a leaping grab on a line drive.
“On both sides of the ball she’s a very, very tough, very competitive player and if the game’s on the line, I want it hit somewhere toward Maddy Grimm,” Zimmerman said. “We knew this team was going to come out fighting. They’ve been here before. We knew that we had to keep putting the ball in play and let the chips fall where they may.
“I think a lot of the errors were on bunt plays and close plays. You get tight. They laid down some nice bunts and those are quick, short plays and I think that’s what leads to it.”
Corle said his team, which had five seniors including four starters, gave Ligonier too many chances.
“We actually scored most of the runners that we had on. I don’t think we stranded a lot, but it was just one of those games again,” Corle said.