Andover Trojan softball stays perfect with sweep against Ark City Bulldogs

Ethan Denton

ANDOVER – After winning six games to start the season away from their home field, the Andover softball team finally had the chance to play on their home turf. They worked past strong winds and falling temperatures on Thursday evening and posted two more victories over the visiting Ark City Bulldogs.

The Trojans won with pitching and defense while their offense stepped up when they needed to.

“Hitting-wise, the wind does add some movement to the pitches that you’re not quite used to seeing,” Andover head coach Amisha Daniels said. “We had some what would typically be pretty good hits get held up in the wind. I think overall we started to make our adjustments but not until late in the (first) game and a little bit in game two.”

Game 1: Andover 5, Ark City 2

When Tess Eubank fired the first pitch, it was 75 degrees and breezy. Moments later, the wind increased and never let up after that. Eubank worked around a pair of base runners in the 1st inning and kept the Bulldogs off the board.

Junior shortstop Bailey Way led off the bottom of the inning with a triple to right center. She scored on a sacrifice bunt from Alyssa Evans to give Andover the early lead. The Trojans would add another run to lead 2-0 after one.

Andover’s Tess Eubank pitches against Arkansas City on Friday, April 9 at Andover High.

Eubank’s only hiccup came with two outs in the third. With a runner on, Ark City third baseman Ayanna Jennings lifted a ball over the center field fence for the game-tying homer. But it would not take the Trojans long to respond.

Way led off the bottom of the 3rd with a hit that made its way down the left field line and into the corner. She easily made it to third base and hesitated for a split second before turning the afterburners on and raced to home plate. She slid in just ahead of the throw to the plate and tag attempt for an inside the park home run and a 3-2 Andover lead. Later in the inning, Eubank came up and delivered an RBI single for a 4-2 lead.

Grace Boling collected an RBI in the 5th to make it 5-2. Eubank along with the Trojan defense did the rest and finished off the victory.

Game 2: Andover 4, Ark City 0

The second game began in a similar fashion. Eubank got the start in the circle and Ark City got a pair of hits in the first inning but stranded the runners. 

It looked as though the Trojans would come away with nothing in the first. There were two outs and nobody on, but then a pair of walks brought Eubank to the plate. With the wind ever increasing, fly balls became adventurous for fielders. Eubank lifted a ball to shallow center that the wind moved away from the charging center fielder and it fell and scooted away for a double which scored both runners. Just as in the first game, Andover had a 2-0 lead after one.

Eubank appeared to get strong the longer she was pitching. She rolled through the Bulldog lineup and would wind up throwing five scoreless innings.

“Tess is doing great for us,” Daniels said. “We can always count on her. We have a deep pitching staff so we’re going to get a lot of girls some innings behind her.”

In the bottom of the 5th, Way singled to right and the right fielder misplayed the ball which turned into a two-base error and a run scored. A groundout made it 4-0.

Kylie Forney pitched the final two innings. She easily got through the 6th but then walked the first two batters in the 7th. But a double play turned by Boling restored order and she recorded the last out to polish off the win.

The Trojans are rolling along with an 8-0 record and that unbeaten mark will be put to the test next Tuesday at cross-town rival Andover Central.

Andover 5, Ark City 2

ARK    002 000 0 – 2 4 2

AND    202 100 x – 5 7 1

W – Eubank. L – Colquhoun. HR – Ark City: Jennings; Andover: Way.

Andover 4, Ark City 0

ARK    000 000 0 – 0 3 1

AND    200 020 x – 4 6 1

W – Eubank. L – Tennant.