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Crawford County senior Alicia Zehr slides in under Paoli catcher Allison Springer to score in the first inning. "She's been hitting really well," coach Lonnie Presley said. "She's worked on things. She's the one girl that always tries to swing hard." (Photo by Wade Bell)

Lady Pack pound Paoli after shaky start

May 07, 2008
After getting off to a sluggish start in their Patoka Lake Athletic Conference game against Paoli last Tuesday afternoon, the Crawford County Lady Pack came back to beat up on the Lady Rams for a 14-5 win to go 5-0 in the conference race. However, coach Lonnie Presley was less than pleased despite the lopsided win.

"They just don't play hard all the time," Presley said after his team's win over the Lady Rams. "That's the biggest thing right now. We're just not focused. We're not ready to play. We just act like we're playing because a friend is playing or whatever. I don't know what to do."

Crawford wasted no time in scoring, getting on the board in the first inning. Chelsea Benham walked, then Alicia Zehr singled to put Benham in scoring position. Amanda Toney then walked loading the bases. An illegal pitch by Paoli pitcher Jordan Kloss scored Benham for a 1-0 lead. Kayla Nickelson grounded out, but Zehr scored for a 2-0 first inning head start.

Paoli got one of those runs back in the second. Crawford committed its first error with Cassidy Buchanan batting, then Jessica Strahan walked. Cassie Bowles grounded out to advance the runners. Buchanan then scored on a passed ball to Gretta Farlow, and Crawford's lead shrank to one.

After Crawford failed to get a baserunner on in the second, Paoli came back with its biggest inning, scoring four runs in the top of the third. Grimes singled and advanced to third on two passed balls to Allison Springer, who then hit into a fielder's choice that scored Grimes to tie the game.

Brianna York t hen launched a triple to score Springer, and the Lady Rams took the lead. Kloss grounded out to third to score York. Buchanan walked, then Strahan singled to send Buchanan to third. Buchanan scored on a bad pitch to Bowles and Paoli took a 5-2 lead.

Asked if prom the weekend before might have had an impact, Presley said the problems were there before that.

"We've probably played three games this year where we've played really hard," he said. "We've maybe got beat by two teams that were really good, but we beat a team that was really good. We beat Southridge 5-4, but we didn't start playing there till the seventh inning. We scored five runs in the seventh inning. They had us 4-0. I don't know how to explained it."

Presley had a heart-to-heart with his team after the inning, and the Lady Pack responded in a hurry in the bottom of the third. Benham walked and then scored from first on a Paoli throwing error with Zehr batting. Toney was hit by a pitch and later, with one out, Chelsey Barron singled to score Zehr and Toney.

Tori McClain was also hit by a pitch, then Paoli committed a second error in the inning, allowing Kim Holzbog on to load the bases. Pellman then singled to score Barron. With two out, Benham was at the plate again and doubled. A throwing error into the outfield allowed the bases to clear, and Crawford turned the game around for a 10-5 lead.

"I really shouldn't have to get mad to get them to play hard," Presley said. "If you can't get up for a conference game when you're 4-0 in the conference, and now this one makes us 5-0, if you can't get up for that, I don't know what to do for you. Like I told them out there in the meeting, I'd be happy to play in a conference game now. They just don't realize what they're missing. We could be a really good team, but if we don't get focused and start playing hard, it's not going to happen."

Paoli blanked in the fourth and fifth, but Crawford also had to wait to score again, getting three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Following a Pellman walk, Paoli committed another error with Kayla Parr at the plate. Benham then got her second double of the game, scoring Pellman and Parr. Benham later scored on a two-out double by Toney, and the lead ballooned to 13-5.

The Lady Rams threatened in the sixth, but failed to gain any ground. Crawford got another run in the inning, then held Paoli in the seventh for the 14-5 win.

"Maybe I should just start out being mad," Presley said. "You've got to want it. I can't lead you around. We've got enough talent here to win big time. We've got enough talent to win more games than any girl on this team has at Crawford County. I get more mad at that than anything else. Just play hard. If you lose, you lose, but just play hard."

Crawford finished with nine hits, with Benham and Barron getting two each. Pellman struck out three and walked three before leaving the mound with a thumb injury, and Parr walked two in three innings. Crawford made three errors and left four runners on base.

Presley said the player who has improved the most is senior Alicia Zehr, who has been hitting consistently after improving her skills during the off-season.

"Alicia Zehr has been hitting the ball pretty good," Presley said. "Sometimes I have to get on her about playing harder in the field, but Zehr has been trashing the ball this year. She's been hitting really well. She's worked on things. She's the one girl that always tries to swing hard. That's where it's at. If she hits it, it's going to go. She just needs to keep working on it just like everything else. But she's hitting the ball well. I'm pleased with Zehr's hitting this year."

Paoli finished with four hits in the seven innings, with York getting two. Kloss struck out four Lady Pack batters, but walked three and hit four. The Lady Rams left nine runners stranded.

"They hit the ball better than I thought they would, but we had mental mistakes," Presley said. "We're not ready. At the plate we're not ready. We swing at bad pitches."

Presley said he still has to work on his team's motivation.

"The effort is what I'm so disgusted in right now," he said. "We're not playing very hard. Until we do, we're not going to contend for a sectional or conference. Here tonight, we should have won bigger than that. We gave them four of the five runs they had probably."

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