By Jake Thompson
AVON — After taking a one run lead in the bottom of the first inning, the Avon Orioles softball team held off visiting Hoosier Crossroads Conference rival Harrison Thursday night.
Avon (12-4, 4-0 conf.) had a few hiccups along the way that might have cost them the victory, but instead, the Orioles focused in when necessary and came away with a 1-0 win over the Raiders.
“We’ll take it,” Avon coach Jenny Shayotovich said with a smile. “We made some mistakes, but the team made plays when they had to.”
After shutting down the Raiders in the top of the first, leadoff hitter Hannah Reeser singled for the Orioles. Hannah Goddard grounded out but advanced Reeser to second.
Harrison pitcher Kalyn Revord walked Taylar Kelso and Reeser then advanced to third on a passed ball, putting runners at the corners. Lizzy Snodgrass’ single brought Reeser home for the lone run of the game.
The Orioles would not get another hit until the bottom of the fifth as Revord was pitching pretty well with good movement on the ball.
“(Revord) has struggled a bit and we were really hoping for this to happen with the ball moving and her throwing hard,” Harrison coach Dick Mitchell said.
Harrison also played well defensively, completing two double plays and produced some timely defensive stops when Avon looked to open up a larger lead.
“We’re really young with only two seniors in the defense and we make great plays, but sometimes boot the easy ones,” Mitchell said.
Avon started with junior Alexandria Anderson on the mound and she went five innings with four Ks before Snodgrass closed the door on Harrison.
“Alex did a great job and has been very effective hitting her spots,” Shayotovich said. “Anytime you can give hitters a different look a couple of times in the lineup it helps. They’re really getting into a rhythm and make a nice balance.”
Avon’s Olivia O’Brien filled in for Mackenzie Johnston with a strong effort behind the plate and gained the praise of her coach.
“Olivia is a senior and has been hitting for us all year and we just wanted to get her some experience,” Shayotovich said. “She did a nice job framing, working with the pitchers and keeping everybody in a rhythm.”
Noticeably absent from Avon’s lineup was Sadie Foster who has been out with a concussion since taking a pitch to the head last week. The senior worked the dugout all game, providing the type of support the team has come to expect.
“It’s been tough and she is chomping at the bit,” Shayotovich said. “She has a presence on the field that is missed and hopefully she will be back early next week.”
Shayotovich said the team hasn’t practiced in three weeks because of rain, games and makeup contests on the schedule. Avon has had to make adjustments on the fly, including reading handouts on the bus from coaches to work mentally on things that are usually cleaned up in practice.
“We have to work on (errors) in a game, but it’s a challenge when you can’t stop the game and coach them,” Shayotovich said. “That learning experience with the young ones has been difficult.”