When a night of struggling with command means fighting through and still pitching a complete game shutout, life is pretty good. With first place in the Bull Run District on the line, Madison County travelled to unbeaten William Monroe and took advantage of the miscues the Dragons made and simply watched Lauren Seale dial in from the circle. Giving up just three hits and striking out 20 batters, the Mountaineers junior paved the way for Madison for a 6-0 win.
“Everyone did a great job out there tonight,” said Madison coach Jesse Yowell. “I think is one of the better hitting team’s I’ve had and they put the ball in play and made them make mistakes, which is what you have to do.”
The first inning saw Seale throw 22 pitches, in the middle of which Yowell paid her a visit. Something clicked after she issued a 1-out walk. Between then and the fifth inning, Seale sat down 12 straight batters.
“I kind of just calmed down and knew that my team was going to have my back when I was getting into a bit of a struggle,” Seale said. “So I basically just sent a few down the middle to see if they could hit it. And then my curveball, that was the pitch that was working for me.”
And by the third inning, the Mountaineers had all they needed to work with as they rallied for four runs. In a peculiar sequence, Madison took the 1-0 lead on a bases loaded infield fly with communication breaking down.
“We talked about it afterwards, that (tonight) was just about easy errors, mistakes that we can fix,” said Dragons coach Chad Roach.
Then a 2-run single from Seale and an RBI double from Reagan Clatterbaugh had the Mountaineers in business. By the fourth inning, Madison went up 6-0 by getting a 2-out 2-run double from Kaitlyn Aylor.
“Once we get on the board I can kind of relax and go do my thing,” Seale said. “It just goes from there when we get a lead. Hopefully we can keep doing that.”
Monroe’s best scoring chances came in the fifth and seventh, but Seale wiggled out of both jams unscratched. A single from Brianna Wimer and a walk to Kaitlin Bishop gave the Dragons a runner in scoring position with one out. But back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat. In the seventh, MaKayla Morris led the inning off getting hit by a pitch, and back-to-back singles from Leanna Lamb and Bishop loaded the bases with one out. But a strike out followed by the only defensive out of the night for the Mountaineers, a pop fly to shortstop, wrapped up the win.
“When you have as many errors as we did and only three hits, it’s going to be awfully hard to beat Lauren,” Roach said.
Madison (8-2, 4-0) hosts Clarke County today at 7 p.m. in what was a great rivalry last season.
Monroe (7-1, 3-1) travels to Manassas Park on Thursday at 7 p.m.