BENTON – Day one almost saw an upset right out of the gate.
Fairfield pitcher Sarah Shank helped herself and pulled her team from the mire, driving in the only run of the game in the seventh inning of a 1-0 Falcons win over Tippecanoe Valley Tuesday in the opening round of the Class 3-A Fairfield Softball Sectional.
Fairfield, despite being the hosts, were the visitors on the scoreboard and found itself deadlocked with a scrappy Valley bunch. Natalie Garber opened the seventh with a double and moved over to third after a Morgan Sanchez sacrifice. Shank’s fly ball to center was deep enough to get Garber home on the sacrifice fly.
Shank then closed the door in the seventh, getting the Vikings out in order. Shank, who only allowed a fifth-inning single to Kayla Scott, struck out 10 in the win. Counterpart Sydney Howard was nearly as good for Valley, giving up just five hits on the night, only Garber’s went for extra bases. Howard struck out one on the night.
Valley closes out its season 6-14 overall.
The Falcons (19-7) will move onto the sectional semi-finals Wednesday to face defending champion Wawasee (8-16) in game two of the evening. Lakeland (13-11-1) and West Noble (3-16) will meet in game one, starting at 5 p.m. The sectional championship is slated for Thursday at 6 p.m.