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Goshen-Zion Chapel rivalry explodes

It is obvious the Goshen Lady Eagles and the Zion Chapel Lady Rebels do not like each other. How is that obvious?

Well, the 1-0 and 4-3 games in the area tournament in Jack Tuesday and Wednesday would be all the evidence you need. Both teams were out on the field fighting hard for that win. The bickering could be seen and the tension could be cut with a knife.

The teams had tied during the regular season and split the regular season area championship with identical 3-1 records and a 1-1 head-to-head record. The host team was determined by a coin flip and Zion head coach Chelsi Jones won it for her team.

And the rivalry was taken to the next level, as the Lady Rebels took out Goshen with one run in the bottom of the seventh inning in game one.

After Goshen dispatched of Highland Home early Wednesday and sent them home, the rivals came out for round two.

Round two was a little different than round one, with more hits happening on both sides, but Zion again came out with the winning run late in the game. In a back-and-forth battle, the Lady Rebels pushed the winning run across in the bottom of the sixth and Heather Hines held the Lady Eagles at bay in the top of the seventh for the win.

The best part about this rivalry and this year’s competitiveness on the field is that it may not be finished.

Both teams moved on to the 2A South Central Regional in Montgomery and they have the possibility to face each other again. And the first time they meet could be in the Regional semifinals or somewhere in the loser’s bracket.

There is nothing in sports that can beat a good rivalry and it seems like Goshen and Zion have what it takes to form a great rivalry through the next few years. Both teams are fairly young and they both have great coaching.

So far this year Zion seems to have the edge with a 3-1 record against Goshen now with the area tournament championship behind them, but the Lady Eagles could put all that to rest if they knock the Lady Rebels out of the playoffs this weekend.

If that game happens it would make the fans at Lagoon Park in Montgomery happy if it is anything like the games in Jack Tuesday and Wednesday. Alli Warrick and Heather Hines combined to allow only eight runs on 20 hits in two games with 19 strikeouts and five free passes.

That is some great pitching from both sides. And in game two, Warrick had already pitched seven innings in the heat in a 12-strikeout no-hitter of Highland Home. It has been said that if you have a good pitcher then you have a good shot of winning.

Well, Goshen and Zion have a great chance of winning from what was seen during the past two days on the Zion softball diamond.

Good luck to both teams and it should be an interesting ride through the postseason for both teams.

Matt Nascone is the sports editor for The Messenger. He can be reached at 670-6315 or online at matt.nascone@troymessenger.com.