TROY — Down to her last strike, Troy cleanup hitter Lauren Fonner wasn’t going to let an opportunity to win the game pass her by in a dual with Vandalia-Butler fireballer Addison Suess.
The game was tied 1-1 with two outs in the home ninth inning and Brianna Lavender stood on second base with the winning run.
“She had a good changeup,” Fonner said about Suess. “I had swung and missed at two that were in the dirt. The third one, I fouled off and I was like Okay, I got it.”
The next pitch she hit a hard shot through the infield and Lavender scored to give Troy a 2-1 win.
“I am pretty sure it was another changeup,” Fonner said. “It definitely wasn’t one of her fast pitches. I knew we had the fastest girl on the team at second base and I just needed to put it in play somewhere.”
Troy coach Scott Beeler said it was an impressive at bat.
“That girl has a great changeup,” Beeler said about Suess. “Lauren didn’t get the first two. Then, she adjusted and fouled one off. You can’t throw a changeup on every pitch.”
It was a game in which Abigail Welbaum pitched a masterpiece.
She allowed just three hits in the nine innings, striking out nine and walking one.
Butler left just four runners on all game.
“Abigail (Welbaum) pitched great,” Beeler said. “She did a great job controlling the game. I was pleased with the way the kids just kept battling. There wasn’t an unearned run scored in this game. That is the way it is when we play Butler. It is always a battle.”
Butler struck first in the fourth inning.
Emmalee Marstellar reached on an error and scored on Ari Wade’s RBI double.
Troy would answer in the fifth.
Allyson Burns led off by reaching second when Butler couldn’t catch her fly ball.
With two outs, Fonner singled her in.
It stayed that way until the ninth inning – despite Troy having numerous opportunities.
The Trojans left 11 runners on base — including six in scoring position.
In the sixth, Emma Setser was on second with one out after reaching on an error, but was stranded there.
In the seventh, Lavender walked and stole second and third with one out — but could not score.
In the eighth, Lilly James and Welbaum both singled and were on first and second with one out, but again the Trojans could not score.
“We have gotten a lot of runners on base this year,” Beeler said. “But, we have not scored a ton of runs.”
Marstellar pitched the first seven innings for Butler.
She combined with Payton Sweaney and Suess on a nine-hitter, striking out eight and walking two.
In the 10th, Lavender had reached base when she beat out an infield grounder after it was bobbled.
That set up Fonner, who was 3-for-5 with both RBIs to hit the game winner and improve Troy to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the MVL.
“We had our best season every last season,” Fonner said. “So, I feel like we feel a lot of pressure to beat that. It feels great anytime you can do something to help the team win.”
After being down to her last strike.