By LOGAN DARNELL
For the Coal Valley News
WHARTON - Van Junior-Senior (10-7) put on an impressive defensive display on April 6, defeating the visiting Saint Joseph Central (3-5) in the second game of a doubleheader with the Lady Irish.
The first game ended 15-10, giving the Lady Bulldogs their first victory of the evening. Senior Monica Bias threw in both games following an early pitching change in game two, showing her skill despite fielding errors which allowed an unwavering St. Joe to threaten Van's offensive effort in the first.
Defense came together more so in the second game. Freshman third baseman Jazmyn Gibson continues to impress the coaching staff with her fielding, working together with another freshman, shortstop Alyssa Sampson, to lock down the left side of the diamond. Only two runs were earned by the Lady Irish in game two.
Van's first runs came in the third inning, with a line kept moving by solid base hits from most of the lineup.
A double from center fielder Kensley White and a base hit by senior second baseman Casey Belcher kicked off a string of runs for the Lady Dogs. Karlie LaFauci hit an RBI single to left field, bringing her fellow junior White home. Gibson later hit a single to left field to give Belcher and LaFauci their runs.
In the fourth inning, Hannah Brown walked to kick things off, and was followed on base by Bias.
Once again, Van kept the line moving and ran the bases aggressively. After a run from Brown and another base hit by White, LaFauci batted in Bias and White. Gibson enjoyed another fruitful at-bat, recording another two RBI on a single to advance LaFauci and Haleigh Brown to home, giving Van an 8-2 lead and eventually the win.
Things went quite right for Van in the game, with reliability at the plate and on the field bringing them a decisive second win.
"I was pleased with our aggressive baserunning and timely hitting," says Coach Mike LaFauci. Gibson went 4-for-4 with four RBIs to lead the Lady Dogs, followed by Karlie Lafauci, who went 3-for-4 and recorded three RBI, and Haleigh Brown with a 3-for-4 showing at-bat.
Van (11-7) plays Lincoln County High School (12-8) in Hamlin at 5:30 p.m. on April 17. Saint Joe (3-6) plays Cross Lanes Christian (4-9) at home at 5:30 p.m. on April 22.