The Lady Pioneers of Indian State College took to the softball fields in the 2017 FCSAA State Softball Tournament following a 2-0 start on Friday night to stay in the winner's bracket.
The play on Friday set them up with a 12:00 game time versus State Tournament nemesis, Seminole State College. Taking the mound for 'THE RIVER' was Taylor Schmidt, local sensation and freshman from Stuart, FL.
Nerves got to the freshman early on, giving up a lead off hit and then a walk. Following a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position, Coach Dale Atkinson came out of the dugout the settle his young star. After a brief discussion, Schmidt rapidly dismissed the next two batters with strikeouts, pitching her way out of trouble.
Inning two proved uneventful for the Lady Pioneers on the offensive end, seeing no runs. Heading into the bottom of the second, following a leadoff walk, Seminole threatened to score for the second consecutive inning. Following a hit, and some efforts to manufacture a run, Seminole got one across the plate. At the end of two, the score stood at 1-0 in the favor of Seminole.
Inning three saw a bit of production on the offensive end for the IRSC team. With two leadoff batters reaching base, first and second were occupied with no outs. After a flyout to left field, Steffany Collins hit a line drive into center field scoring one run to tie the game. Base runners remained on first and second, giving IRSC momentum and a shot to take the lead. The next batter hit a ball into shallow left field foul territory. The Seminole outfielder made a remarkable catch against the fence to get her out and then followed-up with a throw to third to get the IRSC runner attempting to tag up. A double play ended the threat of runs and shifted the momentum back to Seminole's bench. However, after a hit and a walk given up by IRSC's Schmidt, she struck out the side to keep the game even after three innings of play.
In the top of the fourth, Indian River came to life with a two out rally. Dream Aaron hit a ball to the warning track in center field, securing a stand-up double. Following her substitution with a pinch runner, Auria Mounts had a stand-up double pushing the lead run across the plate. Immediately following that hit, Kaylee Hinds hit another double securing an RBI and knocking the Seminole starting pitcher out of the game. At the end of four, IRSC led 3-1.
The fifth inning saw Indian River come up empty on the offensive end scoring no runs. Seminole came out swinging, getting their leadoff batters on first and second. A slapper down the third base line was fielded by Dream Aaron but a throwing error allowed the runner to reach base and a run to score, moving the score to 3-2. With runners on second and third and no outs, an infield fly was caught and the runner on third was doubled up after much discussion from the umpires. With two outs, Seminole started a rally and got two more runs across the plate to take the lead after five innings, 4-3.
Heading into the top of the sixth, down by one run, Dream Aaron led off with shot down the third base line for a double. A pinch runner was put in to make an attempt at stealing second and that proved successful. However, after multiple batters and a circus catch in center field, Seminole closed out the inning not allowing runs to score.
The seventh inning approached with IRSC needing one to tie and two to take the lead, but they came up empty, losing 4-3. They now drop to the loser's bracket of the double elimination tournament and will play at 5 PM against the winner of the Chipola vs. Daytona game.