Purdy on the cusp of semifinal berth

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Casey Ellison hits an RBI single during the first inning of Purdy’s 15-0 win over Crane on Monday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Lady Eagles sink Crane in sectional round, 15-0

For the second time in the last three seasons the Purdy softball team has advanced to the state quarterfinal round and will host the game at home.

The Lady Eagles have told everyone who will listen that they are on a mission to punch through to the state final four, and they have backed the noise up with unbelievable effort on the field.

Purdy coach Lori Videmschek, left, and assistant coach Jennifer Cornelius celebrate the final out of a 15-0 sectional win over Crane on Monday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

At 24-1 on the season, Purdy has laid waste to most of its competition. The lone lost to Strafford, 6-4, came three days into the spring, but is also coupled with a 6-2 win over the same Lady Indians team.

Purdy has scored 10 or more runs in 19 of its 25 games and three times plated 20 or more.

Defense and pitching has also been the friend of the Lady Eagles, who have allowed two or fewer runs in 22 games this season.

Pitcher Hallie Henderson and catcher Casey Ellison embraced after winning the sectional matchup with Crane on Monday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

To put it another way, Purdy has outscored their opponents 303-25 this season, a whopping 12-1 margin.

Nowhere was this blitzkrieg attack more on display than at the sectional round on Monday.

Purdy needed just three innings to post a 15-0 victory, scoring four in the first, two in the second and nine in the third frame.

“We came out today and were aggressive and got those early runs and we just relaxed,” said Lori Videmschek, Purdy coach. “We’re a unique team in that it doesn’t matter if it is the one hole or nine hole hitter, we know that they are going to step to the plate and hit the ball hard.”

Mikey Schad, the Lady Eagles’ No. 7 hitter, went 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles and 3 RBI, and Rion Boyd, the No. 4 hitter, was 3-for-3 with a triple, 2 singles and 3 RBI, as well.

“I wasn’t nervous today,” Schad said. “I went to the plate confident. The pitcher was throwing at my speed. I like pitches inside and that’s where I got them. This game was just a stepping stone and we plan to go higher.”

Hallie Henderson continued to be the dominate force in the pitcher’s circle. Henderson not only threw a no-hitter against the Lady Pirates, she struck out 9 of the 10 batters she faced in the game.

The only batter to reach was Eryn Akin, who was hit by a pitch in the second inning.

“She’s been our workhorse all year,” Videmschek said. “We got her a lead and she just took over.”

Henderson said any time her team gives her a lead she is confident that she can make the pitches in the circle.

“Whenever you have your team score four times for you in the first inning, it just calms you and you don’t have to worry because they are doing it at the plate,” Henderson said. “Having those types of players at the plate and the solid defense behind me is a big help.”

Videmschek said the goal now is for the team to stay hungry and focused.

“We have to come out on Thursday and be ready to play,” she said. “We can’t assume Hallie is going to strike everyone out. We know that we have one more game and that is the one we are trying to win.”

The Lady Eagles face a familiar foe in rival Pierce City (19-4). The two area powers met in the championship game of the Pierce City Invitational on April 1, with Purdy prevailing, 6-1.

“I’ve known [Pierce City Coach] Kacy [Whitley] for a long time,” Videmschek said. “Her teams are always well coached, scrappy and they are going to fight you. They put the ball in play, can bunt and run the bases well and also have power with Ali Raley and Riley Pennington.”

“In volleyball, baseball, basketball and softball, Pierce City is our rival, and the games are always tough. We have to be ready to play.”

First pitch in Purdy is set for 5 p.m.

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