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Rebels’ Epperson no-hits Patriots 1-0

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LINCOLN CITY – South Spencer’s Hannah Epperson no-hit Heritage Hills for a 1-0 victory in PAC softball last Thursday.

“Her stuff was moving and she was hitting her spots fairly well,” Rebels Coach Tara Compton said. “She was able to keep batters off balance and they had a hard time hitting.

“That was crucial. We were having trouble getting the bat on the ball.”

Facing Patriot pitcher Emma Eubank, the Rebels threatened in the top of the first. Ashton Rasor and Mattison Bartlett hit back-to-back singles with one out before Eubank got a ground-out and line out to end the inning.

There wouldn’t be another base runner for either side until the top of the third, when Epperson singled with one out. But she was stranded after a pop-up and ground-out.

In the fifth, Mallory Toler reached with one out on a dropped third strike and Epperson replaced her on the base paths after a fielder’s choice.

Later in the inning with a runner on second, Rasor hit a ground ball to the third baseman, who overthrew the first baseman to allow the game’s only run to score.

“We’ve been struggling with that for a couple games - execution with people that were on and taking advantage,” Compton said. “I was glad to see we took advantage of that error and got a run across the plate because we would still be going 0-0.”

Patriots Coach Joe Asbury said it was disappointing that an error allowed the game’s only run, considering how well his defense played overall.

“Our defense hung in there. They had several hits, but it still hurts that their run was unearned,” Asbury said. “Our third baseman made a nice play and the ball just got up on her.”

Heritage Hills got a runner on in the sixth when Xiana Scott walked with two outs, but Maddie Fuller grounded out to strand her.

In the seventh, the Patriots got another runner on base with two outs when Kayley Bauer reached on an error by the first baseman.

With the tying run on base, Ali Wade struck out on three pitches to give the Rebels and Epperson a milestone win.

“We made it close, that’s for sure,” Compton said. “We like the pressure I guess.”

Epperson handled that pressure by striking out 11.

“My curve definitely helped,” Epperson said. “The defense too, they were right there to scoop them up.

“It’s very nice and it gets everybody pumped up.”

Asbury said his team didn’t have the best game at the plate.

“We swung at some pitches that we shouldn’t have and we weren’t as selective as we were earlier in the week,” he said. “Sometimes that happens when a pitcher gets you off balance and you lose your confidence.

“Hats off to her, but we also need to be a little more disciplined at the plate.”

Eubank took the loss, giving up just one unearned run on four hits. She struck out five and walked none.

South Spencer improved to 12-7 and Heritage Hills fell to 10-10.

The Rebels will host Perry Central today at 5 p.m. and the Patriots will close the regular season Friday against Gibson Southern at 5 p.m.