The Lady Indians lost 5-12 against the Williston Devils at Chiefland on Tuesday. It’s their first at-home loss and puts them at 1-2-0 for the season. The game was bittersweet, as it showed off great potential but highlighted weak areas in Chiefland’s play.
The support was mighty at the field Tuesday. Amid the cold weather, students, parents and kids flooded the bleachers, and a straight line of lawn chairs consumed the concrete along the fence. Fans also sat atop their trucks to watch the game over the field’s back fence as they huddled close together in the cold.
Fans weren’t their only support though. The Lady Indians constantly encouraged one another throughout the game. They screamed “get it one-two”, “roll it, roll it” and other chants from the dugout as their strongest players moved up to bat. Chiefland also came together before each side change for words of motivation.
Despite a seven-point deficit, Chiefland was staunch on the field. The night was a mixture of pop flies and ground balls, and strikeouts were few and far between.
Chiefland was on its feet frequently, always taking the opportunity to steal. Junior Gianna Jacono was a notable player as she constantly trod close to the next base before the ball was pitched.
Chiefland’s enthusiasm between bases ran a risk, however. Numerous safe plays cut close to being outs and could’ve costed the team points while already at a disadvantage.
Chiefland committed to every play on the offense and made proper adjustments on the defense. Prior to the third inning, the team promptly switched pitchers as they were down 1-6.
Disappointment ran across the face of freshman pitcher McKenzy Grieg to conclude the top of the second inning. She appeared to be in dismay with her pitching performance. Between Grieg and junior pitcher Kaley Osteen, there were no strikeouts, but only three walks were given.
The Lady Indians were well-grounded — literally. The third inning saw three consecutive groundouts by Junior Ashari Bowers, sophomore Grace Quincey and freshman Emma Swain. Another five groundouts rolled in from the first inning to the seventh.
The clink of the bat was a familiar sound, but the strong hits were too low to reach outfield, making an out almost inevitable. The Devils had a sharp pitcher that the Lady Indians couldn’t overcome.
Long-awaited home run
Chiefland was reminded of their talent in the seventh inning, as Quincy got a home run to bring the game 12-5. Players quickly ran out on the field to congratulate Quincey as she briskly walked across home plate and fans were rowdy. The moment brought Chiefland reassurance and confidence after their wobbly performance.
“Whenever somebody makes like a good play, it brings the whole team up,” Bowers said. “Those plays just kept bringing energy to the rest of us.”
The team recognizes their faults and are looking towards the future.
“Not hitting and communication is a key part of what our team struggles with,” Osteen said. She also wants to focus on her pitches before the next game. Hitting and team confidence are things to focus on as the season progresses, Quincey said.
Chiefland is in good condition to start off the new season. The team played against a robust team with powerhouse players yet still racked in four points across six innings and a memorable home run in the seventh.
The Lady Indians play the Branford Buccaneers on Feb. 26 at Branford at 7 p.m.