Posted Online: April 29, 2013, 9:09 pm

A-W softball climbs back to .500 as it builds toward regionals

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By Terry Duckett, tduckett@qconline.com

ANNAWAN — A recent bumpy stretch in the road cost the Annawan-Wethersfield softball team a shot at a Lincoln Trail Conference championship.

However, that only means the Titans are re-assessing and re-prioritizing their goals. Chief among them is gaining as much momentum as they can for the upcoming Class 2A regionals.

On a warm, sunny Monday afternoon here at Howes Park, A-W continued to build that momentum as it rolled past LTC rival Ridgewood 12-2 in five innings, giving the Titans their fourth win in their last five games as they reach the .500 mark at 10-10, 8-8 in league play.

"We're coming together as a team," said junior pitcher Megan Foes, who won her third straight decision to improve to 7-1. "We've definitely gotten a lot more hits the past few games, and our defense is starting to pick it up. We've been working hard in practice and everything, and everyone is starting to jell."

Two years removed from its only regional softball title, A-W is bumping up to 2A for the first time this season — regional seeds should be announced within the next few days — and knows the challenge that awaits.

"We know 2A's going to be tough," said Foes... "We know we have a lot of talent. We just need to learn how to use it together. If we can do that, I think a good postseason is right around the corner for us."

After the Spartans got a pair of first-inning runs off A-W's junior ace, the Titans responded immediately against Ridgewood pitcher Ashley Collins. A two-run homer by Celina VanHyfte tied the score, and the hosts took a 3-2 lead after one.

Foes settled in and pitched four innings of four-hit ball, allowing just one earned run. Her teammates tallied four second-inning runs, then added five more in the third for the 10-run lead. VanHyfte's two hits and two RBIs were matched by Sami Brody, with Brooke Pyle adding three hits and Kaila Dunfee driving in two runs.