CENTENARY, Ohio — A night after getting shut out on their home field, the Logan Lady Chiefs came oh-so-close to bouncing back with a huge victory over longtime Southeastern Ohio Athletic League nemesis Gallipolis.
However, trailing the Purple & White 4-1 heading to the last of the sixth inning on their home field Thursday evening, the host Blue Angels rallied to score six runs and deal the Lady Chiefs a crushing 7-5 softball defeat at Gallia Academy High School.
Micah Curfman’s run-scoring double not only broke a 4-4 tie with two outs in the last of the sixth, but it also broke the collective hearts of the Lady Chiefs (1-4 overall, 0-2 SEOAL), who dropped their fourth-straight game.
The Lady Chiefs, who were beaten 10-0 on their home field by Warren on Wednesday, took advantage of three Gallipolis errors to break a 1-1 deadlock with three fourth-inning runs.
Logan came very close to beating a Gallipolis team that had defeated Warren 5-3 last week and lost to defending SEOAL champion Jackson 5-3 on Wednesday evening.
To say that Gallipolis has been a thorn in Logan’s softball side in recent seasons would be an understatement. Since beating the Blue Angels 1-0 in eight innings for the 2008 SEOAL championship, the Lady Chiefs have lost eight-straight games to GAHS and have not won in the French City since 2006.
Logan pitcher Faith Freeman helped her own cause at the plate twice on Thursday as Logan took that 4-1 lead.
Freeman singled, took second on a passed ball, moved to third on a single by Lainie Nakanishi and scored on a Gallipolis error in the second. She then singled and scored the first of Logan’s three runs in the fourth.
A sacrifice fly by the Blue Angels’ Madie Burns scored Alex Brumfield, who had singled, with the tying run in the last of the third inning.
A Freeman single, a Gallipolis miscue and a Nicole Beck single put runners on first and third in the fourth frame. Two outs later, the Lady Chiefs were able to score three times on two GA errors, a fielder’s choice and a passed ball to make it 4-1.
Freeman then came back and retired the side in order in both the fourth and fifth frames before the Blue Angels (5-4, 2-1) rallied to win it in the sixth.
Violet Pelfrey, who would earn the pitching victory, got an infield single to open the inning and was replaced by pinch-runner Ashleigh Bennett. Jenna Meadows singled Bennett to second, then Maggie Westfall reached on a Logan error to fill the bases.
Freeman induced an infield ground ball and Logan got a force play at the plate for the first out, and the next batter struck out. Two wild pitches produced two Gallia Academy runs, however, then a Logan outfield error allowed Stanley to score the tying run.
Curfman then doubled to center to score Brumfield with the lead run. A Logan error cost the Lady Chiefs another tally, then Pelfrey singled — her second knock of the inning — to plate the final marker.
Lexi McBride coaxed a walk in the top of the seventh and eventually scored when Alyssa Zaayer singled and the ball eluded a Gallipolis outfielder for an error, bringing the potential tying run to the plate, but Pelfrey retired the final two Logan batters to end the game.
Pelfrey, in earning the pitching victory, only walked one and struck out eight in throwing 70 of 101 pitches for strikes. All five Logan runs were unearned as the Angels committed five errors on defense.
Curfman doubled and singled and Pelfrey had a pair of singles for Gallipolis, with Westfall, Brumfield, Meadows and Burns all contributing a single.
Freeman deserved a far-better fate than taking the mound loss. She threw 73 of 103 pitches for strikes, striking out six and walking only one, but six of Gallia Academy’s seven runs were unearned as the result of three key Lady Chiefs errors.
Freeman and Nakanishi both singled twice for the Lady Chiefs and Beck and Zaayer each added a base rap.
Craig Dunn is the SEOAL media representative and the sports editor of the Logan Daily News in Logan, Ohio.