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Friday, May 13th, 2011

Parkway captures 10th MAC softball title

By Mark Ruschau
VERSAILLES - The Parkway Panthers went on the road Thursday afternoon to the Versailles High School softball field and defeated the Tigers 8-0 in a battle of the top two teams in the conference, capturing an outright 2011 Midwest Athletic Conference softball championship
Parkway (18-2) improves to 6-0 in the conference to take a two-game lead with one conference game to play. The MAC title is the 10th in school history and third in a row for the Panthers. Versailles falls to 12-12 overall and 4-2 in the MAC.
"Winning a MAC title is always special," said Parkway's coach Mark Esselstein. "We knew coming into the season that we had experience at catcher and pitcher and we had three seniors that played a lot of ball but we had a lot of girls that did not have a lot of experience and for them to win the first six games of the MAC schedule is quite an accomplishment."
In addition to winning the conference championship, Parkway answered a question that was left after Wednesday afternoon's sectional final. Could the Panthers score runs with runners in scoring position?
The Panthers jumped on the Tigers with a run in the first inning. Olivia Smith walked to start the game and she promptly stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Smith scored the first run of the game on an RBI bounce out by Kylie Snyder.
Parkway added a run in the second when Emily Crowell went to second base when her single was misplayed in rightfield and scored on a two-out RBI single by Morgan Cron. The Panthers added a third run in the fourth inning on a double by Taylor Walls and a two-out double by Destinee Guggenbiller.
Parkway blew the game open, scoring four times in the fifth inning. Crowell singled to start the inning and went to second on a bounce out by Snyder. After a walk to Cron, Megan Ketchum laced a single to right and Crowell was safe on a close play at the plate to make the score 4-0. It was a costly run for Parkway as Crowell left the field with a pinched nerve in her shoulder and didn't return.
Taylor Walls then delivered a three-run home run on the first pitch she saw over the fence in rightfield to make the score 7-0 in favor of Parkway.
"We took advantage of the wildness of their pitcher to score a run in the first inning without a hit, and although it took us a little while to start hitting the ball, it did not take as long as it did last night," said Esselstein. "Taylor Walls has just been hitting the heck out of the ball, she is playing on one leg and Morgan Cron is playing hurt as well, but we have gotten contributions from a lot of kids and we need to keep it up.
"We hope that Emily just has a pinched nerve in her shoulder, they were going to take her in for X-rays to see what it is and we will go on from there," continued Esselstein. "It was a play where we were going all out and if I had known that in the next at-bat that Taylor was going to hit a home run, I would not have sent her, but unfortunately those things happen and she will be okay and we will go from there."
Parkway will attempt to finish the conference play unblemished today when it travels to New Bremen to take on the Cardinals.

MAC softball standings:

The current Midwest Athletic Conference softball standings
Team  W  L
Parkway  5  0
Versailles  4  1
New Bremen  3  2
Marion Local  3  3
St. Henry  3  4
Fort Recovery  2  4
Coldwater  2  5
Minster  1  4
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