Not long before yesterday's first pitch between the Oran High School Lady Eagles and the visiting Scott City Rams, there was a brief rain shower. But after that, it was blue skies and clear sailing as Oran defeated the defending district champs 10-0 in 5 innings.
Freshman Sam Welter, making her high school debut, was named the opening-day pitcher.
Her first inning wasn't without drama. A lead-off walk, followed by a one-out error and a groundout resulted in the visitors having runners at second and third with two down. Welter then got a called third strike to end the threat.
The Eagles quickly seized the momentum in the bottom half of the frame. Sydney Kern worked a walk and then, on the first pitch to Kaylee Payne, stole second. Payne, attempting to sacrifice, laid down the bunt and beat the play at first for a single, moving Kern to third. Payne stole on the first pitch to Leah Cauble. Cauble drove both in with a long double down the left field line. Jessie Long hit a single to right to drive in Cauble and after one Oran was up 3-0.
Coach Jim Eftink on the importance of that first inning, "It was important to get out in front. As soon as Sydney got on base in the first inning, I knew we would score."
"She and Payne are spark plugs for us. They're both quick and can make things happen on the bases."
Welter worked around a two-out bloop single in the second.
In the bottom half, Kenzie Graviett led off with a ground-rule double to right-center, Katelyn Streeter reached on an infield error and Kern singled to load the bases with a slap hit to left. Then with two-outs, Long picked up an RBI with an infield single. Claire Ramsey reached on another infield error pushing across the second run of the inning making the score 5-0 after two.
Scott City managed a one-out baserunner in the third before the Eagles went back to work.
Graviett reached on an error, moved to second on Streeter's sac bunt and to third when Kern reached base on another Ram fielding error. Graviett scored on Payne's single. Kern scored after the ball was booted in the outfield and Payne ended up at second. Payne scored when Cauble singled to left. Cauble stole second and came home on Long's single down the right-field line.
A one-out walk in the top of the fourth got no further than first base.
The Eagles closed out the scoring in the bottom of the fourth
Welter walked to lead off the inning, Savannah Elfrink was used as a courtesy runner, Maddie Graviett singled advancing Elfrink to second. A wild pitch moved both runners up one base. Kenzie Graviett grounded back to the pitcher and Elfrink was tagged at the plate trying to score. Kern walked to load the bases with two outs. Scott City had a passed ball during Payne's at bat which allowed Kenzie Graviett to score the 10th run.
During the top of the fifth, the Rams, who needed a run to continue the contest, worked a leadoff walk, a one-out single and a wild pitch to move runners to second and third with only one down. Welter was able to get a pop out and a ground out to short to clinch the run-rule victory an once again end a threat unscathed.
Long finished 3-3 at the plate with 4 runs driven in. Cauble was 2-3 with 2 RBI, including a double. Payne was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Eftink about the Eagles first game bats, "Timely hitting up and down the lineup was a big factor. We seemed to get the big hit when we needed it. Cauble came through with a big double in first inning to give us a lead. Long came through later in the game with a big hit."
Welter went 5 shutout innings, allowed only 2 hits, walked 3 and struck out 5.
Eftink on Welter's performance, "Great job by Sam Welter. She showed a lot of composure for a freshman. Got off to a shaky start but then settled in. I think it was nerves. This was her first high school game and it just happened to be against our top rival."
Oran, now 1-0, will be back in action on Wednesday when they host another district opponent, Delta at 4:30.
Eftink added, "We'll see what Payne can do against Delta [in the circle] on Wednesday ."