LoMa vs. AHSTW SB

(Avoca) -- The Logan-Magnolia softball team turned a 0-0 fifth-inning tie into a 10-0 win over Western Iowa Conference foe AHSTW on Tuesday night.

"We had a tough game with Audubon last night and were a little flat," Coach Rick McHugh said. "There's no way this team wanted to have two straight losses, and we wanted to avenge our loss to AHSTW. We knew it was going to be a good one."

"It was exhilarating," freshman pitcher Abby Hiatt said. "We didn't get down on ourselves. Especially when it was 0-0 in the fifth."

The game's first five innings had all the makings of a pitcher's duel with Hiatt and AHSTW's Kailey Jones matching each other with one masterful out after another.

AHSTW had a chance to score the game's first run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, but officials ruled the runner left the bag early, ending the inning and leaving the run off the board.

Neither team could manage much offensively until Erikah Rife broke the tie with an RBI in the fifth to give Lo-Ma 1-0 lead.

"I went outside, and it was a little bit of popup," Rife said. "I was just focusing on hitting the ball. That's how it started."

AHSTW loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but could not score a run. This opened the door for Lo-Ma to plate three in the sixth, followed by a six-run seventh frame to turn what looked to be a pitcher's duel into a blowout win for the Panthers (12-5, 11-3).

Rife finished the night with three hits, one of which was a double. Macanna Guritz also tallied three hits while Amelia Evans (two), Sam Yoder (one) Hiatt (one) and Greylan Hornbeck (once) also recorded hits for the Panthers.

"Our offense is contagious," Coach McHugh said. "When one starts hitting, they all think they can. We try to preach getting on base and moving runners. Once we got that one run, we knew we could score some more runs. And you are much more relaxed when you have a lead."

While the offense shined down the stretch, Hiatt never budged in the circle. The freshman trusted her defense, forcing nine groundouts while only striking out two on three hits in the win.

"I've started focusing on not striking out a ton of girls," Hiatt said. "And more so getting the ball in play because I know my defense will back me up."

"Abby made some good defensive plays," McHugh said. "But what helped her is that she got ahead in the count. Sometimes, she gets down and it's the hitters dictate, but she dictated tonight."

AHSTW's three hits came from Graycen Partlow, Natalie Hagadon and Grace Porter. The Lady Vikes (13-11, 10-5) return to action on Thursday against IKM-Manning.

Lo-Ma returns to action on Thursday with another salty WIC battle against Riverside.

"We are feeling well," Coach McHugh said. "We have to be ready to play every night. If we aren't, we will be going home early."

Click below to hear full interviews with Rife, Hiatt and Coach McHugh.

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