While the Litchfield baseball team was putting together an upset win over Auburn in the baseball regional, the Litchfield High School softball team was hoping to do the same against the Trojans on Wednesday, June 2.
For the first half of the game, it looked like that could very well happen as the Panthers outhit the Trojans 5-1 in the first three innings. Litchfield would even take the first lead of the game in the top of the fourth, but from there on out, the game belonged to the home team as Auburn claimed an 11-1 victory in six innings to end Litchfield’s season.
From the opening at-bat, Litchfield looked poised to give Auburn all they could handle as Bella Roach singled, then was replaced on the base paths by Lauren Monke on a fielder’s choice.
Monke would move to second on a single by Taylor Brakenhoff and, after fly out, Emma Walch would load the bases with Litchfield’s third single of the inning. Unfortunately, the threat ended there as Auburn pitcher Sydney Rabideau got Bri Jeffers to pop up to second for the final out.
The Panthers would load the bases again in the third when Roach was hit by a pitch, Monke singled and Ashley Hickerson singled, but a sharp line drive to short allowed the Trojans to turn a double play and end the inning, and the scoring opportunity, again.
Litchfield would finally break through in the top of the fourth as they loaded the bases for the third time in the game. Bri Jeffers walked and Annika Rhodes and Cara Pence singled to give Litchfield three ducks on the pond with no outs.
After taking a first pitch strike, Jenni Boden stung a pitch to short, which allowed Jeffers to score and make it 1-0. Auburn would get the first out of the inning on the play, forcing Rhodes out at third and would avoid further trouble with a line out and a ground ball back to the mound to end the inning.
Auburn had only three base runners in the first three innings, but made up for lost time in the fourth as the first five batters reached base for the Trojans. That stretch would result in two runs scoring, with two more finding the plate after back-to-back singles following the first out.
After a 1-2-3 inning at the plate for Litchfield, Auburn added six more runs on two singles, two doubles, a walk, a hit batsman and an error.
Down 10-1, Litchfield tried to rally in the top of the sixth, with Rhodes picking up her second single of the game, but Rabideau would get the next two outs to bring the Trojans back to the plate.
Needing just one run to end the game by the mercy rule, Auburn wasted little time. Paige Burton singled and moved to second on a ground out by Breeze Shaffer. Sydney Rabideau would help her own cause and end the game with a RBI single to center that allowed Burton to score from second.
The win moved Auburn on to Thursday’s regional semifinal against Tri-City, while the Lady Panthers bowed out at 0-14 for the 2021 season. While that isn’t what Coach Jessica Ball hoped for in this COVID crazy year, the Panthers did show improvement throughout the season and only lose two players, Bri Jeffers and Cara Pence, to graduation.
June 2 at Auburn
Litchfield 000 100 1 9 2
Auburn 000 461 11 12 0
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
Monke 5.1 11 9 12 3 4
*Monke 1 HBP
Auburn IP R ER H K BB
Rabideau 6 1 1 9 2 1
*Rabideau 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Litchfield - Annika Rhodes 2-3; Auburn - Sydney Rabideau 3-4, Lucy Madaus 2-3, Shelby Seiler 2-3, Mailee Schoen 2-4, Paige Burton 2-4. 2B: Auburn - Shelby Seiler 1, Mailee Schoen 1. Runs: Litchfield - Bri Jeffers 1. RBI: Litchfield - Jenni Boden 1.
Record: Litchfield (0-14).