SPARTA — The Highland softball team dug itself a hole, got out of it, then watched as River Valley pushed the Scots back into the hole.
River Valley scored four times in the first inning, then scored three times in the sixth to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Scots in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference action Thursday at Highland.
“This is pretty tough. We had a rough start and were down, but we did a great job of coming back,” said Highland coach Enid Claxon.
River Valley (9-8) jumped on Highland and pitcher Cassie Brown early, smacking four hits in the first inning to plate four runs. Courtney Rengert drilled a double off the wall and Kelsey Miller had a two-run single in the inning.
Brown found her groove after that, shutting down the Vikings for the next four innings.
Meanwhile, the Highland offense started clicking, as well.
McKenzi Rhodes led off the second inning with a walk, then moved to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. She scored on a single by Katie Johnson.
The Scots (13-6 overall, 4-3 MOAC) got another run in the third when Krista Chapman singled and scored on a double by Payton Denman. Shayla Pierce followed with a single and Jessie Stewart walked to load the bases, but Vikings’ pitcher Haley Stacy was able to get out of the jam.
The good things continued in the fourth, as Highland scored three times to take a 5-4 lead.
Jaime Eblin was hit by a pitch, Brown reached on an error and Chapman singled in Eblin. Pierce added a single to plate two more runs and give Highland the lead.
“We finally decided to come out and play. I don’t know if it was a mental lapse or what (to start the game), but it’s something we’ve got to fight through,” Claxon said.
The Scots threatened again in the fifth on singles by Stewart and Eblin, but Stacy was able to get a strike out and a groundout.
That’s when the wheels fell off for the Scots.
Brown injured her hand when River Valley’s Ashley Persinger smacked a hard shot back up the middle, but remained in the game. The Vikings took advantage, getting a two-run double from Morgan Slob and an RBI single from Rengert to retake the lead.
“It hit her finger when she reached for the ball and it was swelling. But, we figured we’d keep her in since she was pitching great. She just had some trouble,” Claxon said.
Highland got one back in the sixth, but couldn’t finish the comeback.
Chapman and Pierce led the Scots with three singles each. Denman added a double and a single, while Stewart, Katie Johnson and Eblin had one single apiece.
Brown threw the first six innings for Highland, striking out two and walking two, while allowing nine hits. Pierce finished up, allowing one hit.
River Valley was led by Rengert, who had a double and a triple. Ashley Salyer added a double and a single, while Slob doubled and Miller had two singles.
The Scots return to action Monday against Northmor.