Van Wert’s Katlyn Dickson is tagged out by Paulding shortstop Karissa Lucas as Dickson attempts to scramble back to the bag during a softball game at Jubilee Park in Van Wert on Saturday. (DHI Media/Tina Eley)
Van Wert’s Katlyn Dickson is tagged out by Paulding shortstop Karissa Lucas as Dickson attempts to scramble back to the bag during a softball game at Jubilee Park in Van Wert on Saturday. (DHI Media/Tina Eley)
VAN WERT – The Van Wert softball team came into Saturday’s doubleheader against Paulding with some major momentum – consecutive Western Buckeye League wins over St. Mary’s and Ottawa-Glandorf – and a 3-4 record. The Cougars were hoping that a couple of wins over a struggling one-win Paulding team would put the red-and-gray over .500 and keep the momentum going.

The Panthers, however, had other ideas, taking advantage of some shoddy Van Wert fielding for an eight-inning 7-4 win in the opener and coming within one pitch of a 7-6 win in the second game before succumbing to a last-ditch Cougar rally and falling 8-7.

The opener was an even battle between pitchers Haylee Dominique for Paulding and Laine Spoor for Van Wert. Dominique, however, struck out eight (to Spoor’s one) and had a better defense behind her.

With the score 4-4 going into the top of the eighth, the Panthers took advantage of a Dominique single and three Van Wert errors to take a 7-4 lead, which Dominique held onto in the bottom half.

Dominique and right fielder Daleigh Davis led Paulding’s hitters, each of them going 2 for 4, including a double. Catcher Katie Dickson led Van Wert’s hitters – 2 for 4 and two RBI – while shortstop Lauren Moore was 2 for 3 and scored twice. Moore was to play an even bigger role in the second game.

The visitors piled up a 7-0 lead in the top of the first before Cougar starter Katie Coplin could record an out. Coplin walked four and gave up three singles (pitcher Audrey Manz, third baseman Mya Andrews, and left fielder Davis). Leona Aldred bounced out to short for the first out, and Coplin threw one pitch to second baseman Ashlynn Rice before Coplin and shortstop Moore traded places. Moore went the rest of the way without allowing a run. She gave up only two hits, although she struck out just one batter and walked four.

In the bottom of the first inning, the first six Van Wert batters all singled to close the gap to 7-3, but left the bases loaded. This was to be a recurring theme for the remainder of the game – the Cougs pounding the ball (17 hits) but leaving a lot of runners on base (11).

Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh with one out, right fielder Dickson lined a single to center field. Manz struck out centerfielder Okuly and was one strike away from the win with a 2-2 count on left fielder Spoor. Spoor, however, smacked a double to the gap in left center to put runners on second and third, bringing up Moore with a chance to win her own game.

She did.

The freshman bounced an opposite field single through the right side, scoring both Dickson and, on a very close play at the plate, Spoor – game over.

There were big hitters aplenty for the Cougars in this game. Third baseman Olivia Profit was 4 for 4, including a double, and drove in one. Okuly, Spoor and Moore had three hits apiece. Moore drove in three, Okuly two. Manz had two hits for Paulding. Andrews was 1 for 3, scored one, and drove in two.

Contrary to the first game, Van Wert’s defense, led by sub shortstop Coplin, was flawless in the second game. Paulding’s defense was excellent in both games – one error in each contest.

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Paulding 7 Van Wert 4

PAULDING (7)

Asia Arellano lf 4-0-1-1, Audrey Manz cf 5-1-0-0, Haylee Dominique p 4-0-2-0, Morrissa Rue cr 0-1-0-0, Mya Andrews 3b 5-0-0-0, Bailey Pieper 1b 3-1-1-0, Daleigh Davis rf 4-2-2-0, Karissa Lucas ss 3-1-1-1, Brianna Gorrell c 4-0-1-0, Ashlynn Rice 2b 2-1-0-1. Totals 34-7-8-3.

VAN WERT (4)

Laine Spoor p 4-0-1-0, Katie Coplin lf 3-0-0-0, Lauren Moore ss 3-2-2-0, Alli Kennedy 1b 3-1-1-1, Olivia Profit 3b 4-1-1-0, Katie Dickson c 4-0-2-2, Peyton Okuly cf 3-0-0-0, Allie Hall 2b 3-0-1-0, Olivia Kline dp 2-0-1-0, Grace Kline rf 1-0-0-0. Totals 30-4-9-3.

Errors – Andrews, Dickson, Hall 2, Okuly, Profit. LOB – P 10, VW 5. Doubles – Dominique, Davis. Sacrifice Bunts – Lucas, Rice. Sacrifice Fly – Kennedy. SB – Lucas, rice, Moore 2, Okuly, Kennedy.

Paulding 030 010 03 - 7 8 1

Van Wert 003 010 00 - 4 9 5

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so):

Dominique (W) 8-9-4-3-2-8.

Spoor (L) 8-8-7-3-2-1.

Pitches/Strikes – Dominique 109/69, Spoor 109/71.

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Van Wert 8 Paulding 7

PAULDING (7)

Asia Arellano cf 3-1-0-0, Audrey Manz p 3-1-2-0, Haylee Dominique 1b 2-1-0-0, Mya Andrews 3b 3-1-1-2, Jen Stahl c 3-1-1-0, Bailey Pieper cr 0-0-0-0, Karissa Lucas ss 4-1-0-1, Daleigh Davis lf 3-1-1-1, Leona Aldred dp 2-0-0-1, Morrissa Rue rf 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-7-5-5.

VAN WERT (8)

Peyton Okuly cf 4-2-3-2, Laine Spoor lf 5-2-3-0, Lauren Moore ss/p 5-1-3-3, Allie Kennedy 1b 3-0-1-2, Olivia Profit 3b 4-0-4-1, Katie Coplin p/ss 3-1-1-0, Allie Hall 2b 2-0-0-0, Drew Kennedy 2b 1-1-0-0, Olivia Kline c 4-0-1-0, Grace Kline dp/lf 3-0-0-0, Katie Dickson rf 1-1-1-0. Totals 35-8-17-8.

Error – Lucas. LOB – P 5, VW 11. Doubles – Spoor, Profit. Sacrifice Bunts – Olivia Kline. SB – Rice, Coplin, Okuly. HBP – Andrews (by Moore), Allie Kennedy (by Manz). Double Plays – Lucas to Dominique, Olivia Kline to Alli Kennedy.

Paulding 700 000 0 - 7 5 1

Van Wert 300 120 2x - 8 17 0

x - Two outs when winning run scored.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so):

Manz (L) 6.2-17-8-8-3-8.

Coplin 0.1-3-7-7-4-0;

Moore (W) 6.2-2-0-0-4-1.

Pitches/Strikes – Manz 140/87, Coplin 43/16, Moore 88/49.