By RYAN HERMAN
VALE –– West Lincoln got a taste of humble pie in its last game, and the Rebels made sure they didn’t take another bite against East Lincoln.
Katie Hively drove in three runs, Kylee Leonhardt and Madison Ferguson homered and Cassidy Wise was her shutdown self again in West Lincoln’s 8-1 win over the Mustangs in another battle between first place teams.
The Rebels (10-2, 6-1 Southern District 7 Athletic 2A) and Bandys (5-2, 5-1), which beat Newton-Conover 11-1 on Tuesday, remained tied for first in the loss column while East Lincoln (6-5, 5-2) dropped to second place.
“It took five days to get the nasty taste out of our mouths. We got the runs in today (and) we didn’t the other day,” West Lincoln coach Tyler Sain said. “I think we had a different approach today, a different mentality when we stepped on the field.”
After losing to Bandys 9-5 last Thursday and in the process losing its throne atop the league, West Lincoln made the most of its opportunities against an East Lincoln squad that had won five straight since a 12-8 conference opening loss to the Trojans on March 11.
The Rebels hit .407 as a team Tuesday (11 for 27) and drew five walks, and although they went just 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position, three of those nine outs produced runs.
West Lincoln scored in all but one inning, and never went down in order.
“It was just much better all around,” Sain said.
So was Wise (10-2), the Rebels’ sophomore hurler who has thrown all 78 innings this season for West Lincoln.
She took a one-hit shutout into the seventh, and finished with a run allowed on three hits, three walks and eight strikeouts.
Wise, who lowered her ERA to 1.79, according to team stats published on Maxpreps.com, retired the sides in order in the second and fourth innings. She also worked her way out of a first-inning jam in what was the Mustangs’ best scoring opportunity until the fifth.
Maddie Hatfield bunted her way on base and moved to second when third baseman Raeven McCrodden’s throw got away from her trying to throw out the speedy Hatfield.
Hatfield moved to third on Booth Braswell’s groundout, but Wise got Taylor Wilson to groundout to the shortstop and retired Sarah Thompson swinging to get out of the inning unscathed.
“She battled out of that, she worked her way out of that,” Sain said. “Wise did a great job, a great job. … And we got production all through the lineup, numbers 1 through 9. That was big.”
From East Lincoln’s perspective, though, the game came down to merely who did what and who didn’t.
The Mustangs went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and didn’t get on the board until Kaelyn Edwards’ RBI single in the seventh scored Carly Johnson, who doubled to start the frame.
In the fifth Edwards walked and moved to second on Payton Mill’s sac bunt, then reached third on Kaley Reel’s groundout. But Wise ended the scoring threat by striking out Heidi Parker.
“(Wise) pitched her game, we didn’t hit our game. She pitched what she’s been pitching and we went after it, instead of batting smarter and letting her pitch her pitches. We didn’t bat smart,” East Lincoln coach Mike Freeman said. “(The Rebels) got the timely hits … they got them on, they got them around and they got them in. We had some chances, had some runners on, but couldn’t come up with that base hit, or the bunt, or whatever to get the runners around.
“They played a great game (and) we didn’t play as good a game.”
Hively singled in McCrodden in the first for the game’s first run, and Ferguson homered to begin the bottom half of the second for an early 2-0 West Lincoln lead.
Karsen Leonhardt’s leadoff double started a two-run third for the Rebels. Leonhardt scored on her younger sister, Kylee’s, sac fly, and Hively’s RBI groundout scored McCrodden, who walked and stole second.
Kylee Leonhardt’s homer to dead center made it 5-0, and back-to-back doubles by Erin Huff and Heather Truesdale, followed by a single by Karsen Leonhardt, all turned into runs for an 8-0 lead heading into the seventh.
Wise got Thompson to line out to start the final frame, then gave up her second hit on a double by Johnson, the losing pitcher.
Johnson (5-5) gave up eight earned runs on 11 hits, walked five and struck out four.
Karsen Leonhardt and Truesdale each went 2-for-3, and Ferguson went 2-for-4.
“West Lincoln was able to put the ball in play. They’ve got good hitters,” Freeman said. “Today, good hitting beat good pitching.”
E. Lincoln 000 000 1––1 3 0
W. Lincoln 112 013 x––8 11 1
Johnson and Wilson; Wise and Ky. Leonhardt. W––Wise. L––Johnson.