Last updated: April 13. 2014 5:56PM - 482 Views
By - kshaner@civitasmedia.com

KYLE SHANER/Advocate photoTri-Village's Krystal Falknor swings at a pitch during a softball game against National Trail on Friday in New Paris.
KYLE SHANER/Advocate photoTri-Village's Krystal Falknor swings at a pitch during a softball game against National Trail on Friday in New Paris.
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NEW PARIS — Tracy Barhorst wanted her team to string more hits together on Friday at National Trail, but the Lady Patriots got enough to defeat the Blazers 4-2 in a Cross County Conference softball game.

National Trail held Tri-Village in check for most of the game on Friday, but a four-run inning in the third frame allowed the Patriots to erase a 2-0 deficit and beat the Blazers 4-2.

“Hitting-wise we just didn’t connect together to get some more runs going,” Barhorst said. “The girls are playing well, and they’re learning a lot. When you’re learning a lot, it takes time to develop a solid team, and they’re getting there. I’m very pleased with what they’ve done so far.”

With a Tri-Village team that includes five freshmen in the starting lineup, the Patriots were able to out-hit the Blazers 8-7. Tri-Village had three errors in the game compared to two for National Trail, which helped the Blazers take an early lead.

“Defensive-wise after the first inning we played solid,” Barhorst said. “They came up and did a really nice job, made great plays. I couldn’t ask for a better defense after the first inning.”

In the first inning Tri-Village gave up two runs, including one unearned run, to fall in a 2-0 hole.

But after that Rachel Fickert and the Patriot defense shut down the Blazers as Fickert pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run and one unearned run on seven hits, no walks and two strikeouts.

“Rachel got better as the game went along,” Barhorst said.

In the third inning Tri-Village got its offense going to score four runs and take the lead from National Trail.

Shelby Holzapfel got the rally going as she drove in Payge Malott to cut the Patriot deficit to 2-1. Ecko Brown then drove in Allie Downing with the aid of a National Trail error to tie the game at 2-2.

With one out in the inning, Krystal Falknor grounded out to bring in Holzapfel, and Brown ran the bases aggressively to score all the way from second base to increase the lead to 4-2.

“They were confident, and they were confident at the plate, and they worked together,” Barhorst said of the big fourth inning. “And that’s how we did that.”

From there Tri-Village had some solid hits but couldn’t string enough together to push any more runs across the plate. But the Patriots also shut down the Blazers to preserve the 4-2 victory.

“A win’s a win,” Barhorst said. “It’s a conference win for us. We just need to work on putting it together, and they’ll get that.”

Downing went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored for Tri-Village. Holzapfel was 1-for-3 with a run scored and two stolen bases.

Brown was 1-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. Malott was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Alex Bietry was 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base.

Falknor drove in one run. Fickert and Mann both went 1-for-3.

Barhorst, who is in her first season leading Tri-Village after previously serving as a Bradford assistant, said her squad is capable of doing well and getting its offense going. It’s just a matter of time, she said.

“They’ll get it,” Barhorst said. “They’ll get better, and they’ll get stronger, and we’ll put it all together.”

The first-year Tri-Village coach said she’s already seeing improvement from her young Lady Patriot team.

“Every game we’re making improvements somewhere, and I think that’s most important with this team,” she said. “I’m new to them, and my style is new so they’re really working hard.”

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