By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
Just keep making plays. Leanna Toler backed Logan Viers’ shutout pitching with a two-RBI day at the plate while catching a flawless game as Southwest District-leading Abingdon (10-2, 3-0) methodically moved past Tazewell 3-0 in softball action Tuesday.
Viers, returning after a knee injury suffered a week ago, yielded seven hits but made the key pitches all game long — aided by solid defensive help — to consistently hold off the Lady Bulldogs (5-7, 1-2).
The senior hurler helped her own cause with a pair of timely base hits, two stolen bases and two runs scored.
Hard-luck Bri Sparks took the loss for Tazewell. Sparks also tossed a seven-hitter, made three assists, and had five strikeouts against the steady Falcons.
Karlee Wasilewski punched a pair of hits for Tazewell and made a dazzling running catch in center to rob the Falcons’ Jenna Gilbert of an extra-base hit.
The Lady Dogs stranded a pair of runners in the third, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings as each time Viers was able to stymie a rally.
“With Logan (Viers) coming off an injury, we really wanted to step up and support her,” grinned Toler, whose rifle arm behind the plate kept Tazewell’s runners playing one base at a time.
“She throws so hard that I try to be ready for anything. I knew we needed some runs in a close game like this so I just looked for pitches I could and put the ball in play. I’m happy with the way it turned out — this is a big district win on the road.”
Toler drove in Viers with a hard single up the middle in the third to break up a shutout duel and then got another ribbie to plate Viers again in the fifth frame. Viers led off both innings with base hits, deftly swinging inside out to slap the ball to the left side.
Falcon third baseman Taylor Blevins was another key cog in the AHS win, featuring a dandy glove.
Blevins got another run home in the fourth inning with a roller to the right side that enabled Brooke Griffith to score after she had reached on an error, stole second, and moved to third on Abby Harless’ infield single.
Whitney Saunders laced a pair of hits for THS and sparkled at short, including what the home fans thought was a dazzling catch against Viers in the third inning but the ball was ruled out of the glove.
Tazewell’s Julianne Hart made several fine plays defensively at first base.
Overall, the Falcons simply refused to beat themselves.
“I told the girls to go out and have fun, enjoy the game,” said Abingdon coach Jason Delp. “We didn’t make many big-time plays, in one sense, but I told my team that if we make the plays we are supposed to, then the other team — no matter who it is — is going to have to make some spectacular plays to beat us. We got the job done today.”
Tazewell’s Kayla McCroskey noted, “We just waited too late to get the bats going. Logan’s speed rattled us a little bit but Abingdon is beatable. We just have to be patient and get some offense going. Our defense is OK.”
Bulldog coach Tom Keene concluded, “You can’t make any slips against a good, fundamentally sound team like Abingdon. They make you beat them. Give them credit — they got the hits when they had to. We got the runners on but we didn’t get those hits and that made the difference.”
The Lady Bulldogs host Virginia High Friday at 5 p.m.
At Tazewell High School
Abingdon......................001 110 0 — 3 7 2
Tazewell.........................000 000 0 — 0 7 2
Abingdon – Viers and Toler. Tazewell – Sparks and Bradshaw. WP – Viers. LP – Sparks.
HR – none.