NEWPORT — Over the past couple weeks, Nokomis has been winning softball games with its offense, and Medomak Valley has been winning them with its defense. When they met Friday afternoon, both of those strengths had an off day.

With Medomak Valley pitcher Desiree Benner on her game, Nokomis was held to three hits, and only one through the first six innings. The Warriors stayed close because of eight Medomak errors, but the Panthers held on for an 8-6 victory.

“The night before, I was pitching live pitching, and they were putting it (over the fence) on me,” Nokomis coach J.D. McLellan said. “I’m thinking, ‘Great! It’s going to be a good game.’ But they just didn’t have the pop.”

Benner struck out six, and most importantly, usually kept the Warriors (9-4) from making solid contact.

“She keeps us in every ballgame,” Medomak Valley coach Richard Vannah said. “She’s been a horse for me for three years.”

Medomak Valley (9-3) had been using Amanda Hendrickson-Belloguet in the leadoff spot until she pulled her hamstring. Since moving into the No. 1 spot in the order, Taylor Simmons went 4 for 4 against both Mt. View and Morse, then drew three walks against Nokomis and scored each time.

Hendrickson-Belloguet also made an impact, as she slammed a three-run homer to right-center with two out in the top of the first inning. Nokomis got two back in the second on a walk, a hit batsman, two stolen bases, and four Medomak Valley errors, only to have the Panthers get two more in the third to make it 5-2.

For the rest of the day, Nokomis kept threatening, but Medomak Valley kept responding. In the fourth Abby Maguire (3 for 4) plunked a two-run single just inside the right-field line with two out. With the Panthers ahead 7-4 in the fifth, No. 8 hitter Lauren Guptill fouled off five straight pitches before delivering an RBI single on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. Nokomis pitcher Sara Packard was battling back problems in the later innings and gave way to Becky Orcutt for the seventh.

Errors played a part in Nokomis’ last-ditch rally. With two out in the bottom of the seventh and Taylor Lovley on second, Drew Graves beat out an infield single. Lovley scored on the play, and when the Panthers tried to get Graves going to second, the throw got away and went deep enough into center field for Graves to score easily. That made it 8-6, but Benner struck out the last batter to end it, the last pitch being her 133rd of the game.

“Our offense has been struggling, and our defense has been superb all year,” Vannah said. “This game here, it kind of twisted on us. They know it, and they know they’ve got to clean it up. We will clean it up, and hopefully move on.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 

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