By KEVIN HARRIS
For the third straight meeting between New Washington and Lanesville on Tuesday, the final score ended up 1-0.
Only this time, it was the Eagles who came out on top.
Lanesville senior Amanda Pavey scored the game’s lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a wild pitch in the Eagles’ one-run victory over the Mustangs in the Class A Lanesville Sectional final. It was the Eagles’ second sectional title in three years.
New Washington (14-9) had won the two previous 1-0 contests against its Southern Athletic Conference rival. The Mustangs defeated the Eagles (15-10) in last year’s Class A Lanesville Sectional championship game in nine innings, followed by a 1-0 win over Lanesville in this year’s regular-season matchup.
New Washington coach Tim Sexton took responsibility for Tuesday’s setback.
“I told the girls that it was not their fault that we got beat,” Sexton said. “The coach made bad decisions and that’s what beat us.”
Pavey led off the bottom of the sixth by drawing a walk against New Washington starting pitcher Whitney Morris. She then advanced all the way to third base after teammate Brooklynn Keinsley laid down a 5-3 sacrifice.
On an 0-2 pitch to the Eagles’ Erica Daly, Morris released a pitch that went by Mustangs’ catcher Gracie Speigelhalder. Pavey immediately broke from third and safely scored.
After the wild pitch, Sexton relieved Morris with New Washington shortstop Brooke Shaw. In 5 1/3 innings, Morris gave up one earned run on three hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
“She was doing real good up until the sixth,” Sexton said. “She was getting a little tired. Before the game in warm-ups, her arm was hurting her and she was sore. But she pitched her heart out. I just left her in too long. That was my fault.”
The Mustangs made one last attempt to at least tie the game in the top of the seventh. With one out, senior Coari Robertson smacked an opposite-field double to deep right field. But Robertson tried to extend the hit into a triple, but was gunned down at third on a 9-4-5 assist.
Shaw then popped up to second to end New Washington’s dreams of repeating as sectional champions.
“The Coari Robertson hit and her getting out at third was my fault. I take full responsibility for that,” Sexton said. “I don’t think the wild pitch beat us. The coach lost this one for us.”
New Washington got a runner in scoring position in the top of the second. With two out, Speigelhalder reached first on an error. Teammate Karen Profitt came in as a courtesy runner for Speigelhalder and moved up to second on defensive indifference. The frame ended when Baylee Abbott lined out to Lanesville pitcher Emma Zeller.
Zeller tossed a two-hit shutout. The junior right-hander struck out seven and walked none.
New Washington says goodbye to five seniors in Morris, Robertson, Emily Burke, Kayla Sexton and Kelsey Cochran.
Lanesville will host the winner of Thursday’s Class A West Washington Sectional final between the host Senators and Springs Valley next Tuesday.