LAUREL HILL — Sixth grader Maddie Varnum turned in an impressive performance in the pitching circle for Laurel Hill School softball team on Tuesday against District 1-1A rival Paxton.
Varnum made her first varsity start one that she will remember for years to come as she struck out five Bobcat batters and gave up just four hits and two earned runs as the Hoboes picked up their first win of the season with a 7-4 victory.
In a season marred by injuries Hobo coach Scott Varnum, Maddie's father, was just happy to see his team come out on top.
"As many injuries as we have had our girls could have been like an ostrich and stuck their heads in the dirt but they have played through it and behind us," he said. We've made some changes and brought some JV kids up and we are just trying to get in their mindset we are playing for the last one.
"We have won two district championships in a row and we are rebuilding. We lost Kasey Harrison and we lost Lauren Poole last year and we are just trying to find our way so to speak. I'm just proud of the kids that they stayed behind each other."
The Hoboes (1-5, 1-4) drew first blood scoring three runs in the first and one more in the fourth.
Lead off batter Lauren Gordon was in the middle of the quick start as she reached on an error and later scored on a Bobcat error.
Ashley Hatfield, who reached on a bunt single and Morgan Meeks, who was on base on a fielder's choice, both scored on a Brianna Owens base hit.
Gordon walked and scored on a base hit by Meeks in the second inning as the Hoboes stretched the lead to 4-0.
The Bobcats finally got on the scoreboard in the third inning scoring two unearned runs to cut the Laurel Hill lead in half with the score 4-2.
The Hoboes scored three more in the fourth inning as Gordon, Hatfield and Meeks were at it again.
Gordon reached on an infield hit to start things off. A triple by Hatfield scored Gordon and Hatfield scored on a double by Meeks.
Meeks scored on a Sam Purvines base hit to push the lead to 7-2.
That's what the score was when the Bobcats came to bat in the top of the seventh.
True to the Hobo-Bobcat rivalry Paxton mounted one last attack against Laurel Hill.
Payton Daugherty and Genesis Long scored for the Bobcats on a Sidney Beck double to cut the Hobo lead to 7-4, but it wasn't enough as Laurel Hill held on for the win.
"We just want to build on this and enjoy the win," Scott Varnum said. "Any time we can beat that team from across the road (Paxton) it's a big win."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524