The Decatur Daily Democrat

Stars fall to bat, arm of Woodlan’s Gaff

- By DANE FUELLING

HARLAN—Woodlan starter Austin Gaff stifled the South Adams offense and hit a pair of home runs Tuesday night to move ahead of the Starfires in the ACAC standings with a 6-2 victory.

Gaff needed just 101 pitches to finish off South Adams, allowing two runs on eight hits and striking out nine. She did not walk a batter.

Peyton Pries threw for South Adams and worked two scoreless innings before getting into trouble in the third. Jade Lichty reached on an error to lead off the inning and Gaff helped her own cause with the bomb to left, her fifth of the season.

Woodlan picked up two more hits in the inning but Pries made a nice snag on a line drive to get out of the inning without any more damage.

By the time Gaff came back up in the fourth, Pries had gotten two outs but Woodlan had two runners on base. Gaff crushed another one over the fence, this time to center field and Woodlan led 5-0.

“She was basically standing on the plate,” noted South Adams coach Jessie O’Dell after the game. “So we tried to jam her the first time and she hits a two-run bomb. The next time we try to pitch her outside with something she can’t possibly hit and she drove it over the fence. That was the difference in the ballgame.”

South Adams responded with a rally in the fifth, starting with a base hit from Vivian O’Dell. The Starfires’ efforts were hampered by back-toback strikeouts, but Kristen Wynn kept the train rolling with her only hit of the night and Gaff plunked her counterpar­t, Pries, to load the bases.

Sofia Schwartz singled in two runs but it was all the offense the Stars could muster. Avah Smith added a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the inning for the game’s final run.

“Gaff is a competitiv­e kid,” admitted O’Dell after the tough loss. “In tight situations she dug in and threw with more velocity. She got us to chase bad pitches.”

Gracy Bixler threw the final inning in relief and faced the minimum.

Despite the loss to a sectional opponent, the Starfires coach still likes what he saw from his girls.

“I really like the fight our kids have right now,” said O’Dell. “We had several times where we really faced adversity tonight and we fought through all seven innings.”

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