Mind Games

Published 2:05 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AID — The Symmes Valley Vikings had one thing in mind Tuesday: win the Southern Ohio Conference Division I softball title.

Talk about a one-track mind.

The Lady Vikings did what they set out to do as they beat the Portsmouth Clay Lady Panthers 3-1 to win the SOC title.

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“The kids showed a lot of composure. We had some very fine defensive plays. We turned two double plays, one in the infield and one from the outfield. They stepped on the field ready to take it on,” said Lady Vikings’ coach Jeff “Odie” Estep.

The Lady Vikings last won the league in 2006 when seniors Nikki Nance, Brooke Skinner, Erica Corn, Chelsey Keathley and Chelsea Wall were in the eighth grade. It was also the first title for senior foreign exchange student Izumi Sato.

“They’ve knocked on the door the last few years, but this one they were well-deserving,” said Estep.

Corn went the distance to get the win as she pitched a four-hitter. Clay’s Lyndsey Mader took the loss despite giving up three hits, striking out 10 and walking four.

“I told Chelsea to kept it low and inside and she did a good job of it and the defense played well behind her,” said Estep.

“Mader did a great job against us. She kept us off-balance all night. We were fortunate to capitalize on a couple of chances.”

Kayla Ross hit a solo home run to left field in the second inning to put the Lady Vikings up 1-0.

Clay came back to tie the game with an unearned run in the fifth inning.

Jocee Hughes reached on an error, went to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single by Emily Spriggs up the middle.

But the Lady Vikings snapped the tie with two runs in the sixth.

Chelsea Wall doubled with one out down the left field line and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Corn hit into a fielder’s choice with Wall scoring after getting out of a rundown.

Corn went to second on the play and scored on a hit by Ross to centerfield.

“Ross stepped up and did well offensively and defensively,” Estep said.

Symmes Valley is now 21-5 overall and finishes 13-1 in the SOC. Clay is 12-2 in the league.

The Lady Vikings play at 1 p.m. Saturday in the sectional finals.

Ports. Clay 000 010 0 = 1 4 0

Sym. Valley 010 002 x = 3 3 3

Lyndsey Mader and Alison Castle. Erica Corn and Chelsea Wall. W-Corn (1-K, 1-B). L-Mader (10-K, 4-BB). 2B-Clay: Marissa Messer; SV: Chelsea Wall. HR-SV: Kayla Ross. Hiting-Clay: Marissa Messer 2-3, Tori Osborne 1-3, Emily Spriggs 1-3; Symmes Valley: Kayla Ross 2-2, Chelsea Wall 1-3.