Blue Devils happy to ‘make noise’ in Class AA
BELLWOOD -When the last out was made, Bellwood-Antis pitcher Taylor Payne let out a big “yes,” and leaped into her catcher’s arms.
And according to her dad, the noise that wasn’t just in celebration.
“When we announced we were AA, it just deflated a lot of people around,” Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Payne said. “We thought what better way to validate our program. Now I feel comfortable. We made noise in the AA program. We came in as the five-seed, and we made noise.”
The noise that Jim Payne was referring to was advancing to the District 6 AA semifinal as No. 5 seed Bellwood-Antis, which is in its first year at AA, downed No. 13 seed Penns Valley, 5-3, Monday afternoon, behind Taylor Payne’s complete game, eight-strikeout performance.
The Lady Blue Devils jumped out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to a four-run first inning thanks to a two-RBI double Lauren Snyder.
And in the circle, Payne retired nine of the first 10 batters she faced – striking out six of them.
However, the Lady Rams made things interesting when Madison Sharer launched a three-run homer in fourth inning.
“It’s just one of those things were you have to have amnesia,” Taylor Payne said. “You just have to forget about it. If you just hold on to it and think, ‘I can’t believe I did that,’ then you will lose. So, it was just ‘OK, it’s over with. We are still winning. And just forget about it.'”
Payne answered by allowing just four baserunners after. She retired seven straight batters after the homer.
“She keeps you off-stride,” PV coach Don Lucas said. “She keeps you off-balance. Really she was the difference in the game. When you have somebody like that can keep you off-balance, usually it’s going to be a tough day.”
With the win, Bellwood-Antis will square off with last year’s District 6 Class AA champion – Philipsburg-Osceola, which beat Mount Union, 5-1.
The Lady Blue Devils won last season’s District 6 Class A champion.
“It kind of puts us back in the role we are used to with being the underdog,” Jim Payne said. “Our kids tend to respond and I like that role. We will see what we can do. We will see if we can have some fun and surprise some people.”
As for Taylor Payne, she’d like to let out another one of those yells.
“When I get a little frustrated, I’m just like, ‘All right, calm down. And we will be ok,'” Taylor said of settling down. “This is a very emotional time. We just keep hope to keep feeling very happy.”
PENNS VALLEY (3): Struble ss 300, Houser 2b 311, Lyons lf 311, Sharer 1b 311, C. Ironside 3b 300, Royer dh 300, Wasson rf 300, Harbaugh c 301, M. Ironside cf 300, Lynch p 000 – 27-3-4
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (5): Wolfe 2b 412, Nagle cf 412, Finn c 412, Snyder ss 321, Payne p 300, Decker 1b 301, Clark 3b 201, Shildt lf 301, Harris rf 200, Kirkpatrick rf 100 – 29-5-10
SCORE BY INNINGS
Penns Valley000 300 0 – 3 4 4
Bellwood-Antis400 010 x – 5 10 2
E- Snyder 2, Lyons 2, Harbaugh, Struble. 2B – Snyder HR – Sharer. RBI – Sharer 3, Snyder 2, Clark, Shidlt. WP – Payne. LP – Lynch. SO – Lynch 1, Payne 8.
Records: Bellwood-Antis (10-11); Bellwood-Antis (20-2).