EDINBURGH — The Edinburgh softball team has had its share of near-misses against rival Hauser the last couple of seasons.
On Friday, the Lancers nearly got over the hump — but in the end, the Jets again found a way to escape.
Leah Joyce scored the winning run on a sacrifice bunt by Mykenzie Ault in the top of the eighth inning, lifting Hauser to an 8-7 Mid-Hoosier Conference victory in a back-and-forth affair.
“I was proud of the kids for not giving up,” Hauser coach Craig Sims said. “We made all kinds of mistakes from baserunning to defense. Tessa didn’t pitch a great game, but we found a way to win. That says a lot about who the kids are.”
Early on, the Jets (3-1, 1-0) appeared poised to run away with the win, taking a 3-0 lead in the first on run-scoring hits by Hailey Lange and Hunter Crain. But Edinburgh (2-2, 0-1) fought right back in the bottom of the inning, getting an RBI single from Sidney Beier and then tying the game when the Jets missed a force on a potential inning-ending double play.
Hauser picked up two runs in the second on a two-run double by pitcher Tessa Sims and stretched the lead back to 6-4 in the fifth on Joyce’s RBI-double.
Once again, the Lancers fought back. Maddi Clark and Beier led off the sixth with consecutive bunt singles, and Vanessa McManaway followed by ripping a double into left to score both of them and tie the game. Bri Howard then dropped a double just behind third base, plating McManaway and putting the home team in front 7-6.
But that slim lead didn’t hold. In the sixth, Ault beat out a leadoff bunt, stole second and then scored the tying run on an errant pickoff throw. Two innings later, Joyce led off with a walk, stole second, took third on an error and came in on Ault’s sacrifice bunt.
Tessa Sims, who finished with 11 strikeouts, set the Lancers down in order in the bottom of the eighth to help the Jets escape. She allowed six hits and walked two.
Beier and McManaway had two hits apiece to lead Edinburgh at the plate. Clark took the pitching loss despite striking out 15. She gave up seven hits and walked five.
“I think our girls had a lot of energy,” Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark said. “They were ready to play, and they didn’t get down on themselves. They rode the roller coaster as the game went along, and they fought the whole way.”
Lange paced Hauser offensively by going 3 for 4, while Ault had a pair of bunt singles.
“It really shows (Edinburgh) what we can do and not to underestimate us, even though we’re young,” Lange said.
The two clubs will face off again on Monday at Hauser.