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Senior night success
Lane leads Lady Pioneers to victory
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When Warren County High School softball coach David Upton took Monica Lane out of the game in the sixth inning, the entire Lady Pioneer team was waiting for her. It wasn’t that Lane was struggling. It was simply a way to let her know her work at Warren County High School softball field was done.
On senior night, Lane picked up her sixth victory this season as the Lady Pioneers defeated the White County Warriorettes 9-0.
Lane was one of three Lady Pioneers honored on senior night, though she was the only one healthy enough to play. Seniors Allison Bond and Mahaley Keele were each lost earlier this year to season-ending surgeries, but were waiting with open arms as a teary-eyed Lane walked off her home field for the final time.
It was only after Lane had stifled the Warriorettes at the plate for five innings and provided two hits to an offense that had put the Lady Pioneers ahead by nine that coach Upton took out his senior pitcher to a standing ovation.
Fittingly, Lane’s final pitch on senior night was a strike as the ninth Warriorette batter swung and missed against the Warren County ace. It pushed Lane’s strikeout total over 100 this season, along with completing a streak in district where Lane has allowed only three runs in 33 innings of work to power the Lady Pioneers to a 4-3 record and third-place finish.
The night started with Lane, Bond and Keele standing in the middle of the field with their parents joining them. Bond and Keele were still both nursing injuries suffered in action this season which left the team without two of its starting outfielders.
Lane, a starter since stepping foot at Warren County High School as a freshman, got words of encouragement from her two senior classmates before taking the field against the Warriorettes.
Lane allowed two runners to reach base in the top of the first, one on a single and another on a hit batter. The senior settled down and ended the inning with her first of nine strikeouts that started a streak where she would retire 14 Warriorettes in order.
Coach Upton switched his lineup around to where Lane’s jersey number matched her spot in the order. Lane, sporting No. 1, began the game by drawing a walk before freshman Lorren Cannon entered as a pinch runner.
Cannon would be the first run for the Lady Pioneers when she scored on a throwing error by the Warriorettes.
Two more walks loaded the bases with no outs. Junior Chelsey Chandler headed to the plate and belted a triple down the right-field line, scoring Walker, Samantha Weeter and Lindsey Cox.
Warren County took a 4-0 lead into the second inning, one Lane finished quickly with back-to-back strikeouts.
Lane would help add to the lead in the bottom of the second as her triple scored Emma Holmes to make it 5-0. Cannon, once again running for Lane, scored on the next play when Weeter grounded out to shortstop.
Lane continued to increase her “K” count with two strikeouts in the third, one more in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
By the time Lane took the mound in the sixth inning, Warren County led 9-0 courtesy of an RBI single by Walker and two-run double by Chandler in the fourth inning.
Lane worked quickly in the sixth inning, striking out a Warriorette batter in four pitches. Coach Upton brought in Kailyn Cantrell, who proceeded to strike out four more Warriorettes in her time in the circle.
The win on senior night was the Lady Pioneers’ fourth victory in their last five District 6-AAA games. Warren County secured the third-place spot for the district tournament, which will begin Friday, May 3.
Walker led the Lady Pioneers with three hits, while Chandler finished with two hits and five RBIs. Lane, who pushed her average near .350, added two hits and one RBI. Cox had one hit and scored two runs.
Warren County will be in action this weekend as the team plays in the Coffee County tournament. The Lady Pioneers are set to start play Friday with a 4 p.m. game against DeKalb County.