HOPE — Hauser senior Hailey Lange managed only one hit Monday night, but it was that one hit that proved to be the difference.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Lange smacked the ball deep for a triple that eventually scored Tessa Sims, and that was the difference as Hauser picked up another key Mid-Hoosier Conference victory with a 3-2 decision against Edinburgh.
“It created a lot of momentum for us, and I know it got all of us excited,” Lange said of her game-winning hit. “We needed that hit. I was just doing what was best for my team. (Coach) Craig (Sims) kept telling us to make an adjustment and hit the outside pitch. It took me three at-bats, but I finally did it.”
The Lancers (2-3, 0-2) had chances to add runs on the scoreboard in the first and sixth innings, but the clutch pitching of Tessa Sims shut down those threats. She pitched a complete game, stranding six Edinburgh runners.
“We just couldn’t get that one key hit,” Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark said. “We got on first and second a few times with no one out. We couldn’t get a run in, and that hurt us.”
At first, Craig Sims wasn’t going to start Tessa Sims, but before the game, she convinced her coach and father that she wanted the ball in her hands. Being a huge MHC game, the decision paid off.
Tessa Sims was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) in her pitching shoulder. The good news is that she can’t do any further damage by pitching, but she is at times going to have some pain. That pain was noticeable on the field late in the game, but she withstood the toughness and adversity to grind it out.
“There are a lot of times between innings where it can get stiff and sore,” Tessa Sims said. “I push it aside because I know I have to deal with it. I know I can count on my teammates to back me up in case I miss a spot.”
In the top of the third, the Lancers’ Bailey Woodall hit a single. Probably the biggest play defensively for Hauser (4-1, 2-0) came when Lange made the perfect throw to second to catch Woodall on a steal attempt. That turned out to be huge because after Maddi Clark singled, Sidney Beier stepped up and blasted a two-run homer to deep center field for a a 2-0 lead.
The Jets responded back in the bottom of the inning, starting when Katie Taylor reached on an error. Tessa Sims then smacked the ball deep in the gap between center and right field. She made her way to third, but the throw to third by Edinburgh was off, and Tessa Sims raced home.
That set up Lange’s heroics in the fifth.
Another key defensive play for Hauser came in the top of the sixth when The Lancers’ Vanessa McManaway drove a ball to deep center field, and Lauryn Starnes was on the chase. Starnes made the backward leap to prevent the homerun for a spectacular catch, but as she turned to show the umpires she had the ball, it dropped out of her glove and McManaway was credited with a single. The next three Edinburgh batters were retired.
The win was the Jets’ second one-run victory against the Lancers in four days.