WOODSTOCK — Sequoyah softball coach Lane Whitley said the Lady Chiefs switched up their game plan just a bit Tuesday night at River Ridge.
“Normally, I’m telling my team to attack early, because pitchers are trying to get those pitches over early in the count so they can work their approach,” Whitley said. “Tonight, it was more about being patient and waiting for her to come into the zone.”
The patient approach worked as the Lady Chiefs won 8-6 and as moved into third place in the Region 6AAAAAA standings.
Throughout the game, Sequoyah (7-2, 4-2) had long, drawn-out at-bats against River Ridge starting pitcher Sydney Osada. Up and down the lineup, the batters consistently fouled off tough pitches and stayed patient, drawing three walks and forcing Osada into throwing 98 pitches in five innings pitched.
“That was the key, just to be patient,” Whitley said. “With Osada and the rise-ball she relies on, tonight, I told them to try to lay off anything that’s rising, and attack anything else in the zone.”
Sequoyah struck for three runs in the top of the second inning, but River Ridge (6-5, 4-2) stayed within striking distance by scoring one run in each of the first three innings.
After Sequoyah added a run in the top of the fourth, Brylee Burns’ two-run double in the top of the fifth scored Anslee Day and Lauren Anderson. Molly Stevens’ RBI double drove in Burns later in the inning and seemingly gave Sequoyah a bit of breathing room.
River Ridge, however, responded in the bottom of the inning when sophomore Gracie Hughes belted a three-run home run which clanged halfway up the left-field foul pole, cutting Sequoyah’s lead to 7-6. Hughes finished 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, a home run and four RBIs.
The home run seemed to give life to the Lady Knights, and Hughes entered the game at pitcher in place of Osada in the following half-inning.
The Lady Chiefs managed to score a run off Hughes in the top of the sixth inning, when Sarah Squillace was driven in on an RBI single by Katie Vansword. Squillace finished 2-for-4 with one run scored while Burns finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Stevens finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI, and five different players recorded an RBI for Sequoyah.
Whitley said the confidence at the plate and in the field was contagious for Sequoyah.
“We get one girl to start rolling, and it just sets off the next girl. It becomes a domino effect,” Whitley said. “The girls really feed off each other, and when one makes a great play in the field, the next one wants to one-up her and make a great play, too.”
Macie Robinson pitched a complete game for Sequoyah, finishing with six earned runs allowed on 11 hits while striking out three.
Whitley said Tuesday night was encouraging for his team.
“That was just a fun game,” he said. “River Ridge has a really good squad over there, but we played today how I know we’re capable of playing and it really helped.”