WEST LAFAYETTE -- For the second time this spring, neighboring Newcomerstown High and Ridgewood High squared off in softball and for the second time, pitching and defense dominated.
Behind the six-hit pitching effort of Erica Michael, Ridgewood eked out a 3-2 Inter Valley Conference home win on Thursday.
The triumph enabled the Lady Generals to claim a split of the year's regular season games, with the Lady Trojans having prevailed 2-0 back on April 10.
Aiding Michael's effort was the nearly flawless Ridgewood defense, a factor not lost on veteran Lady General coach Kirby Shivers.
"This was a real good effort by our team tonight," Shivers said. "When we play that well in the field and Erica throws strikes, we can be tough to beat.
"I thought we were also aggressive on the bases," he added. "We had three stolen bases, so maybe we've started to turn a corner."
To Shivers' point, the Lady Generals (7-10, 3-6 IVC) committed just one error and got the offense cranked up early.
After Michael retired the Lady Trojans in 1-2-3 style in the top of the first, Ridgewood's Kayla Sharier began the Lady Generals' first with a single, then quickly swiped second.
From there, she scored on consecutive groundouts, the second of which gave Megan McDorman the game's first RBI.
Emily McCoy followed by reaching second on the only Newcomerstown error of the game and scooted home on an RBI single by Kelcie Mattison.
Following a scoreless second, Newcomerstown (7-10, 4-6 IVC) broke through in the top of the third.
Jorden Moore led off by working Michael for a walk, then moved to second on a perfect sac bunt by Jocelynn Lenhoff.
After a popup for the second out, pinch runner Sarah Thursby scored on an RBI single by Makenzie Moner.
Riley Kellish followed by reaching on Ridgewood's only error, then Karlee Peach singled to load the sacks with two outs.
Michael then coaxed a popup to end the threat and keep her squad in a 2-1 lead.
Ridgewood struck for its third and decisive run in the fifth.
Jaeden Wentz laced a leadoff double down the third base line, then moved to third on a wild pitch.
From there, she was plated by a sac fly off the bat of Sharier.
Later in the same frame, McDorman drilled a two out single and swiped second, but was left stranded when Newcomerstown pitcher Jayde Bricker got a ground ball third out.
Trailing 3-1 heading into its final at-bat, the bottom of the Newcomerstown batting order provided some seventh inning drama.
After Michael had retired a dozen consecutive hitters, Lady Trojan Rachel Hinton drilled a one-out single to right. Moore followed with a fielder's choice putout at second, retiring Hinton.
With Thursby pinch-running for Moore again, pinch-hitter Kylie Morris singled sharply to center, moving Thursby to second. Alicia Moore followed with a bloop single to shallow left which created a two-out, bases loaded situation with the top of the batting order due up.
Moner did her job, working Michael for an RBI walk, but Newcomerstown's next hitter, Riley Kellish, followed by drilling a 2-1 pitch to short for the third and final out.
Lady Trojan pitcher Bricker had little to feel bad about. She yielded just five hits, fanned three and walked just one.
First year Newcomerstown coach Chuck Peach pointed to the obvious in his post-game comments.
"We put the ball in play," he began, "but weren't real aggressive with our swings.
"Jayde did a good job in the circle and deserved better," Peach continued. "We played good defense, but so did they. I thought their defense won the game.
"This team seems to like the challenge of falling behind, then playing catch-up," the NHS coach said, "but I told them after tonight's game, you can't come back each and every time, especially against a team which gets good pitching and good defense."
Newcomerstown's Moner had both of her squad's RBIs. For the Lady Generals, Sharier, McDorman and Mattison had the RBIs.
Indian Valley 11,
GNADENHUTTEN - The Indian Valley Lady Braves dominated the Ridgewood Lady Generals, 11-1, on Friday.
Leading the way for Indian Valley (11-3) was Taylor Williams, who had a triple WHILE Katie Shamel and Jamie Beamer each had two singles. Kelsey Kochman was the winning pitcher.
Pacing the Lady Generals (7-11) was Erika Michael with two singles. Jaden Wentz added an RBI.
Sandy Valley 10,
NEWCOMERSTOWN -- Abbie Hughes twirled a one-hitter to improve to 15-3 on the season as visiting Sandy Valley blanked Newcomerstown, 10-0, in Inter-Valley Conference action Friday.
Jayde Bricker (4-7) took the pitching loss for Newcomerstown fanning four, walking none and hitting one. Riley Kellish came on in the sixth frame and added one strikeout.
The Lady Cardinals (15-3, 8-1 IVC) collected 15 hits paced by Chloe Otte with two doubles and a single, while Destinee Hughes added a pair of doubles, Alexis Eichelberger had three singles with Alyssa Sickafoose and Hughes chipping in two singles.
The only Newcomerstown (7-11, 4-7 IVC) hit was a single by Jorden Moore.
River View 5
WARSAW -- In a game which saw the teams combine for 27 base hits, it was Newcomerstown High which rolled its way to an 8-0 lead before surviving a late rally to fend off host River View by an 8-5 score in non-league play for each.
The Lady Trojans (8-11) got busy right away as the first five hitters scored in the top of the first. After a trio of mates reached to load the sacks, Karlee Peach brought them all in with a bases clearing double. Kylie Morris followed with a two-run homer, her second of the spring, to stake pitched Sabrina Smith to the early lead.
Newcomerstown tallied a solo run in the fourth then completed their scoring with two in the fifth.
River View (9-10) answered with a pair in the fifth before a game tying rally, three run rally fell just short of knotting the score in the seventh.
In addition to the offense provided by Peach and Morris, the Lady Trojans also got multi-hit efforts from Smith, Makenzie Moner, Riley Kellish, Jayde Bricker and Alicia Moore.
Sami Ringwalt and Abby King each had three hits for the Lady Bears.