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Floyd Central's Molly Sneed makes this running catch in the fifth inning to rob a hit from New Albany's Macee Almond. Photos By Wade Bell

Floyd rallies past New Albany

April 17, 2019
The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders rallied from two runs down to get an important Hoosier HIlls Conference softball win against county rival New Albany last Tuesday in their annual Cancer Awareness game. It took some big sticks midway through the game to get the Lady Highlanders to pull through in a 4-2 win.

"Better late than never," Floyd Central coach Sean Payne said.

Floyd Central sophomore Madison Wathen fires a pitch to a New Albany batter in the third inning of the Lady Highlanders' come-from-behind win against the Lady Bulldogs.
The game did not go well for the Lady Highlanders early. The Lady Bulldogs' Mariah Grant ripped a triple to start the game and Olivia Licerio followed with a walk. Madison Lawson grounded out, but it was enough to put Grant across the plate and New Albany on the board first.

Floyd Central blanked in the bottom of the inning, and both teams went scoreless in the second.

In the top of the third, New Albany put another run on the board. With one out, Licerio went deep to the outfield for a double and stole third. With two outs, Kimberly Vest also doubled, pushing the Lady Bulldogs to a 2-0 lead when Licerio scored.

"Mariah is a great player, so she was going to get something," Payne said. "It just stunk that it was the first at-bat. That gave them a lot of confidence early, but I just told them to keep attacking because we were going to get ours."

In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Highlanders rallied. Maggie Jo Foreman swatted a single, then, with one out, Molly Sneed hit on safely. Taryn Weddle, who has been punching big shots all season, ripped a triple off the fence, pushing Foreman and Sneed across the plate for a 2-all tie. With two outs, Dallas Henderson fired off a double, scoring Weddle, and the Lady Highlanders took a 3-2 lead.

Floyd Central pitcher Abby Letson struggled through the first three innings and took herself out of the game, with Payne putting Madison Wathen in the circle to start the top of the fourth.

"She's been struggling," Payne said. "We were looking to make a switch at the top of the order when they came back, but she came to me and said, 'Go ahead and pull me. I just don't have it.' That's senior leadership there. She's going to get right and she's going to throw well again at some point of the season. Right now, we just need to get her over that mental hurdle. She's been dealing a little bit with a back injury, and it's something she's dealt with since I've known, her but she'll get there."

New Albany went three up and out in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the inning, Bailey McLean led off with a bunt single. Weddle pounded a single and went to second base on a New Albany error, also scoring McLean and upping the Lady Highlanders' advantage to 4-2.

Both teams came up empty in the sixth inning.

New Albany threatened in the top of the seventh but failed to convert, the win going to the Lady Highlanders.

"When they were coming off the first two innings, where we got blanked, I just told them to relax because you could see where they were tight," Payne said. "Rivalry games, games that you're supposed to win, you can get tight in those situations, so we just had to remind them to relax and just go out there and perform."

Floyd Central finished with seven hits, with Henderson and Weddle getting two each. Letson struck out two, walked one and hit one New Albany batter. Wathen, in relief, pitched for three strikeouts. The Lady Highlanders had one error and left two runners on base.

"She's been doing that all year," Payne said of Wathen. "She's kind of a show-stopper for us. She's got a little bit more speed and a lot more movement than Abby. When they see that jump in speed, it's a little tougher for them to catch on, too."

New Albany finished with four hits, with two of those for extra bases. Vest, from the mound, had four strikeouts for the Lady Bulldogs, who had no errors and left four runners on base.

"Situational hitting, that's our biggest thing right now," Payne said. "We'll get there."

New Albany 101 000 0 - 2 4 0

Floyd Central 003 010 X - 4 7 1

W-Wathen. L-Vest. 1B-Henderson (FC), Foreman (FC), Sneed (FC), McClean (FC), Weddle (FC), Schoenfeld (NA); 2B-Licerie (NA), Vest (NA), Henderson (FC); 3B-Grant (NA), Weddle (NA).

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