By Jake Thompson
MARTINSVILLE — Plainfield coach Brad Beaman has told his team all season they needed to play a complete, all-around game and Monday night the Quakers did just that. The defending Class 4A state softball champions rose to the occasion and defeated host Martinsville by the 10-run rule, 12-1.
“We’ve had seven one-run losses this year and couldn’t get clutch hits when we needed them,” Beaman said. “I told them they had the potential to continue on if they just put it all together. I am just proud of them for doing that.”
Quakers pitcher Erin Laswell ended the game in the bottom of the fifth with Plainfield up 10-1 as she hit a two-run homer. In the third inning, Laswell hit a double that had bounced off the yellow fence guard in centerfield.
“I didn’t see it, I just let it go,” Laswell said of the homerun. “I finally got it back this game and it’s about time.”
Plainfield’s defense stymied Martinsville when the Artesians were able to get runners on base and combined with Laswell’s pitching, gave up just a single run. Laswell went five innings from the mound with two strikeouts, giving up five hits.
But it was Plainfield’s offense that stole the show.
After building a 3-0 lead in the bottom the third, Martinsville answered with a run at the top of the fourth to pull within two of the Quakers.
Plainfield came to the dugout determined to keep their collective foot on the gas and exploded for a six-run inning, going up 9-1.
Brooke Bryant’s single started Plainfield off, but she was picked off while leading off first. Martinsville pitcher Chandler Elliott hit Maggie Stahl, who hit a double in the first and singled in the third. Consecutive singles from Kendyl Wheeler, Mackenzie Reeder and Kelsey Bruhn brought in Stahl and loaded the bases.
That’s when disaster struck for the Artesians.
A simple throw to first for an out after a hit by Darien Garrigus went by the Artesians’ first baseman and Garrigus advanced to third, bringing in three runs.
The Quakers were not done until Kylie Cason hit her first career homerun and the Quakers were up by eight.
“That’s just devastating for any team no matter how good you are,” Beaman said of the offensive explosion.
Laswell threw the first Artesian out at first, recorded a strike and made another routine play to first, ending Martinsville’s side of the fifth. The Artesians would not have another chance to close in on the Quakers.
Wheeler hit a double and was brought in by Bruhn who also had a double. That brought Laswell up to the plate and she blasted Elliott’s pitch over the centerfield fence for a walk-off, two-run homer to end the game. It was her fourth homer of the year.
The similarities between this season and last are beginning to come into focus for the Quakers.
“This is exactly what we did last year when we went on our run,” Laswell said. “We had an OK regular season and then we came in the postseason and were really strong. Everybody’s really working together here and that’s what I like to see.”