Nemesis No More
J. C. Tilton
Early in the season Dixie's coach Money had commented that Waynesville had been a nemesis of the Dixie fastpitch team. Dixie has improved much over the years, but Waynesville always seemed to have their number on the ball diamond. This was the second meeting between the two teams. Waynesville had won the first meeting by about 4 runs. This game was another close match up between two top teams in the SWBL as well as a pair of number one seeds in the state tournament. Dixie called on Miller to take the mound and Waynesville reponded with their ace - Molly Stock.
Both pitchers were strong in the early going. In the third inning Waynesville threatened when they bunted a runner over to third base, but Miller put an end to that threat by striking out the batter for the third out. Miller was pulled in the 4th inning and Ronnie Wasmuth took over. She held Waynesville during their at bat. Now it was Dixie's turn to threaten. Miller got a hit up the middle, Dunn tried to bunt her over, but the bunt went foul with two strikes and she was called out. Miller was able to advance to third on a passed ball. But a popup and a strike out left her stranded.
In the 5th inning the Waynesville bats came alive. They seemed to score at will and it was 3-0 before the Hounds could get the third out. In the 6th inning Dixie again put Miller on the mound. She held Waynesville scoreless, then got on base when she came to bat. Dixie successfully bunted her over to scoring position and she was able to score on a passed ball to put Dixie on the board for the first time. Stock seemed to be weakening - some of her pitches were starting to sail high. Dixie was able to threaten with runners on the corners, but Stock had enough arm strength left to strike out the batter.
Meanwhile the mid game rest seemed to do Miller some good, she made some sharp pitches and quickly dispatched Waynesville. Now it was the bottom of the 7th inning. Waynesville seemed to be in the drivers seat. They had the lead and the bottom of the Dixie lineup was coming up to bat. But Stock's pitches were not finding the plate as consistantly as they had in the early going. Dixie accumulated some hits and some walks. The Waynesville lead shrank. Finally on a double to right field by Ashley Stamper, Jesse Dunn sprinted from first base to score the game winning run. The girls rushed to home plate and collapsed in a jubliant pile as they celebrated the hard earned 4-3 win.
When asked to comment on the win over Waynesville Coach Money responded, "It feels really good. There's a lot of courage in that group and we were lucky to get some timely hits". When asked why he changed pitchers in the middle and then went back to Miller, Coach Miller stated that, "The game plan was to change pitchers in the middle, to try and freeze them up a little bit. They hit Ronnie Wasmuth but it wasn't her fault they just hit them where we weren't". In retrospect this may have worked to their advantage as a refreshed Miller looked strong on the mound in the late innings as Stock seemed to weaken. Dixie will play the winner of the Anna/Versailles game in the state tournament. Comments: J. C. Tilton