By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG -- The fifth inning has been Shikellamy's Achilles heel all season long according to Braves coach Heidi Kerchoff.
It only continued to be troubling on Friday night against Midd-West, as a tied game quickly turned into a decisive 9-3 victory for the Mustangs against the Braves (3-17), with a breakthrough coming in the bottom half of the fifth.
Mustangs coach Peter Voss said that it will be difficult to replace the players that the Mustangs (2-18) will lose to graduation. "They're great leaders on and off the field," Voss said. "That was one of our goals tonight to send the seniors off with a win."
The inning started rather inconspicuously with Adrianne Gesselman leading off with a single. It was third time in the first five innings that the lead-off hitter had reached base, meaning there was little reason to panic over one hit. Sara Shambach and Emily Hackenburg followed suit with singles, loading the bases with no outs.
Cue sweat on brow.
The moisture barely had time to bead as Britt Cunningham wasted little time scoring Allison Shambach -- who entered the game as a courtesy runner for Gesselman -- on a sacrifice fly. Lori Yoder and KateLyn Walter added base knocks, playing station-to-station softball to push the Mustangs lead to 6-3.
As the one-hole hitter should, Brii Zeigler brought Yoder and Walter around to score on a two-RBI single in her last game in a Mustangs uniform. A ball that skidded by Braves catcher Sierra Barnhart to the backstop allowed Zeigler to score before Kelsey Zimmerman limited the damage by inducing a fly out from Gesselman.
"(The fifth inning) seems to be our nemesis every year," Kerchoff said.
Gesselman quickly retired the Braves in the top half of the sixth, not allowing the ball to leave the infield, with two strikeouts and a pop up to stop any chance of an answer from the Braves.