RAYLAND - The Buckeye 8 girls' softball standings just got a little more interesting.
And Buckeye Local finds itself right in the thick of things following Monday's 13-inning, 4-3, marathon victory over visiting Indian Creek.
The Lady Panthers (12-6) trailed 3-0 after 5 innings before taking advantage of two errors by the Redskins (12-3) in the bottom of the sixth to draw even.
SAFE — Indian Creek’s Ashley Starr slides safely into home while Buckeye Local catcher Jessi Faulkner applies the tag Monday in Rayland. The Panthers won, 4-3, in 13 innings.
-- Kim North
Neither team would score until the bottom of the 13th, although both had ample opportunities. They combined to strand 11 runners on base from the eighth to the 13th, with Indian Creek guilty of leaving seven of those.
"Another crazy day in the Buckeye 8," sighed Buckeye Local first-year head coach Joe Soos. "There are a lot of good teams in our conference. You never know what is going to happen from day to day.
"Both teams made some plays, got some big hits and persevered. There are no real losers today."
With the 3-3 score and daylight quickly fading away, freshman Kierstyn Czuchran stepped into the limelight. The Panthers' hitting machine lined a double over the head of Ashley Shimko with one out that scored Karlee Leonard with the game-winner.
Senior Dana Bettineschi started the winning rally with leadoff walk. However, after stealing second base, the Panthers' speedster was caught trying to advance to third when the ball trickled away.
Several pitches later, Leonard lined a single down the first base line. She would eventually move to second on a wild pitch before racing home when Czuchran sent a 1-2 pitch to deep center.
"Kierstyn has a lot of games under her belt for a freshman, with all the travel ball she plays," Soos allowed. "She's a gamer."
Indian Creek head coach Angela Penner was left shaking her head. The Redskins were sailing along at a brisk clip, but the bottom fell out in the sixth.
"Errors kill you. We have to eliminate our mistakes," she said. "Give Buckeye credit. They're a good team. They stayed in it (the game). Defense wasn't in our favor today.
"We had many opportunities. We had runners in scoring position, but just couldn't get them in."
Indian Creek grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Paige Geanangel singled home Ashley Starr. It became 2-0 in the fifth as Starr's two-out single plated Abby Orr. Orr's two-out double in the sixth bumped the count to 3-0.
Starr was sailing along, checking the heavy-hitting Panthers to a mere three hits over five innings. Then came the sixth.
Lauren Swiger singled sharply to left leading off and Bettineschi legged out a slow infield roller one out later. A passed ball allowed both runners to move up 60-feet. After the second out was recorded, Czuchran grounded to short, but the throw got away at first as Swiger and Bettineschi scampered home and Czuchran went to second. Tori Nest's infield roller was also misplayed, allowing Czuchran to score the tying run.
The Redskins ran themselves out of a golden scoring chance in the top of the seventh and left two runners on in each of the 11th and 13th innings.
Meanwhile, the Panthers stranded runners on first and third in the eighth with two outs and got a runner to third with one out in the 12th without scoring.
With the win and Harrison Central's loss at Union Local, the Panthers and Huskies are tied atop the standings at 4-2. However, the Panthers own the tiebreaker by virtue of a win last week. Indian Creek, Edison and St. Clairsville are all 3-2.
Ivy Starcher struck out nine in relief of Angela Primovic to get the win.
Geanangel took over for Starr in the 12th inning and took the loss.
The teams meet again Wednesday in Wintersville.
Buckeye Local 4, Indian Creek 3
Indian Creek 000 111 000 000 0 - 3 14 4
Buckeye Local 000 003 000 000 1 - 4 10 2
INDIAN CREEK (12-3): Starr (7K, 0BB), Geanangel (LP, 12, 0K, 1BB) and Orr; Shimko 2S; Starr S, D, rbi; Geanangel S, rbi; Barz S, D; Sullivan 3S; Orr S, D, rbi.
BUCKEYE LOCAL (12-6): Primovic (2K, 0BB), Starcher (WP, 4, (9K, 3BB) and Faulkner, Nest (6); Bettineschi 3S; Leonard Leonard S, D; Czuchran S, 2D, RBI