Pioneers end Lady Raiders’ season

By Paul Boggs -

CHILLICOTHE — Unfortunately for the River Valley Lady Raiders, Zane Trace’s D’Lani Swackhammer was nails.

That’s because the Pioneers’ pitcher tossed a complete-game two-hit gem, as the Lady Raiders’ season came to an end with a 7-2 loss in a Division III softball sectional championship tilt on Friday at Zane Trace High School.

The Raiders — in fact — despite four walks through the opening five innings including three consecutive in the third, did not register a hit off Swackhammer until the final two.

Meanwhile, the Pioneers posted a pair of runs in the first frame, then scored single points in the fourth and sixth — sandwiched around a three-run outburst in the fifth that made it 6-1.

The win raised Zane Trace’s record to 13-9, while River Valley ends its campaign with a reciprocal mark.

The Raiders couldn’t generate anything off Swackhammer — aside from the two late hits and five walks.

River Valley, despite scoring single runs in the fourth and sixth stanzas, was caught stealing in those two innings to end any further threats.

Swackhammer walked Sydney Little to lead off the game, but induced Riley Barcus into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

She retired the Raiders 1-2-3 in the second, third and fifth innings, including 10 in a row following Little’s leadoff walk.

She struck out five batters altogether.

With the Pioneers leading 2-0, Swackhammer’s streak stopped when she walked consecutively Barcus, Ashley Gilmore and Erin Morgan.

Barcus, advancing to second and third on wild pitches, eventually scored.

The Raiders recorded their other run in the sixth to make it 6-2 — when Mariah Hurt had a leadoff walk, stole second, and scored on a single by Courtney Smith.

In the seventh, Swackhammer — aside from a single by Morgan — shut the Raiders down.

Gilmore went the distance for River Valley, striking out three.

The Pioneers combined three walks and a single by Morgan Arledge for their two opening-inning runs.

In the fourth, Swackhammer smacked a one-out double, then scored on a two-out single by Taylor Stacy to answer and make it 3-1.

The Pioneers then battled around in the fifth for the 6-1 advantage, as they combined three hits, two walks, a fielder’s choice and an error for their three runs.

Arledge singled to lead off, then Ashton Ward and Swackhammer added doubles.

In the sixth, Kaylea Cook singled to lead off and eventually crossed.

The Raiders were the sixth-seeded squad in the sectional, while Zane Trace was the third seed.

The Pioneers play Valley in the Division III district semifinals, set for Thursday (May 19 at 6 p.m.) at Unioto High School.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs