Friendly rivalry: How Samantha Herridge and Peyton Hanson are rewriting the record books in Nevada softball

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

Samantha Herridge and Peyton Hanson don't shy away from competition.

Herridge and Hanson entered a game at South Hamilton June 22 tied with four home runs — the most in Nevada history. By the end of the game they owned the record all to themselves by each hitting a home run and combining for 11 RBIs in a 15-6 Cub victory.

Since then Herridge has hit two more dingers to up her total to seven. But Hanson doesn't expect that to hold up.

“She’s going down,” Hanson said. 

The rivalry has brought out the best in both hitters this summer.

"Honestly, it's the competition," Herridge said. "I want to hit one over, then she wants to hit one over. It's what keeps us firing."

More:What has William Carsrud hitting lights out for the Nevada baseball team

Samantha Herridge has a school-record seven home runs this season for the Nevada softball program. Teammate Peyton Hanson is right behind her with five heading into the final week of the season.

Hanson got off to a hot start to start the season. Through last Friday's 7-4 victory over Grand View Christian she was hitting .415 with seven doubles, five home runs and 30 RBIs.

Herridge has recently caught fire. She's homered in three consecutive games to end last week and is hitting .474 with 11 doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBIs.

"We're at each other all the time," Hanson said. "There are other records we're also trying to break. So we'll make comments like 'I'll have the next one', or 'You better watch out.'"

More:The Ames softball team is off to its best start in years. Ireland Buss is a big reason why

Hanson and Herridge are also trying to chase the school records for batting average, RBIs and doubles in a season.

"We're both on track to get the doubles record," Herridge said. "We'll see who gets there first."

The duo may be competitive with each other, but they also have great chemistry. It helps that Herridge pitches and Hanson is her battery mate behind the plate.

"They are pitcher and catcher and they work together there," Nevada head coach Corey Barloon said. "But when it's time to hit, they want the other to succeed, but they want to do it better."

They thrive off each other's success.

"In a positive way that keeps the energy going," Hanson said. "It kind of feeds into the other girls too."

Peyton Hanson entered the week hitting .415 with five home runs and 30 RBIs for the Nevada softball team.

One of those girls is sophomore shortstop Lani Khounsourath. Khonsourath hit a two-run homer against Grand View Christian.

"We've got three really strong power hitters who have put the ball out," Barloon said. "Lani has hit a couple of grand slams and then we have Peyton and Sammie, who are just battling it out. They're wanting to hit and they're unselfishly hitting. They're trying to put the ball in play to get our runners moving and that really benefits our team."

Khounsourath was hitting .375 through the Grand View Christian game with three home runs and 16 RBIs.

"It took her awhile to build her confidence," Hanson said. "When she goes up there knowing that she's a good hitter she always hits well. She never disappoints."

Khounsourath wants to keep Hanson and Herridge's legacy going after they graduate.

"It's good to look up to them," Khounsourath said. "I'm trying to reach for their goals. I want to set a good example for everyone in my grade because once they're gone we'll need more power hitters. We have a lot of small hitters with bunters and fast people. We just need more power hitters." 

More:Carlee Schwartze grew up facing the guys. Now she's thriving in 3A's best softball conference

With three home runs and 16 RBIs sophomore shortstop Lani Khounsourath gives Nevada a third power hitter in the lineup.

But first the Cubs want to finish their season strong. 

Nevada got off to a 5-2 start then dropped 12 straight. The Cubs snapped their losing skid with the victory over South Hamilton and were 7-15 overall and 3-9 in the Heart of Iowa Conference through the GVC game.

Barloon hopes Hanson and Herridge's home run rivalry will spark the team for its final stretch run heading into regionals. The Cubs take on conference rival Roland-Story in the 3A regional quarterfinals July 6 at Roland.

"We are playing as team right now," Barloon said. "It takes just a little bit of a spark to start a fire. Having the threat of having a home run coming from those three bats really makes it easy for us to get on fire pretty fast."