GOREVILLE — Jade Kranawetter and Lexi King were locked in a pitching dual in the Black Diamond West softball conference opener Thursday, but three Goreville errors allowed three unearned runs to give Trico a 3-1 win to extend the Lady Pioneers season-opening winning streak to seven games.
“That was a great ballgame with two good pitchers going toe to toe,” said Trico coach Andrew Franklin. “We knew Lexi is a handful anytime she’s in the circle. We tried to not hit balls at her because she’s such an outstanding fielder. It seems like when she’s in the middle of the field the circle goes from 16-foot radius to 32 feet. She showed that numerous times today.”
Kranawetter (6-0) had given up just a one-out walk in the third inning and had retired the first batter in the seventh when her counterpart on the mound Lexi King hit her third home run of the season to break up the senior’s no-hit bid and cut the lead to 3-1. Kranawetter finished with 11 strikeouts.
“My last outing was against Du Quoin last Saturday and I was throwing ok (three hits), but I knew I could do better, so I worked out yesterday on my speed and I think it helped a lot,” Kranawetter said. “She hit an outside rise. I was trying to go two balls off the plate, but Lexi’s such a good hitter it doesn’t matter if you throw two balls off the plate she’ll hit it anyway.”
Goreville (3-3) had the tying run at the plate with two outs when Kranawetter walked Samantha Licka. The right-hander got out of the jam when she retired Kelsey Ray on a comebacker.
King (1-2) was the hard-luck loser giving up three unearned runs. The senior left-hander allowed just five hits, issued five walks and hit two batters, but only one of those batters factored into the three runs scoring.
“We preach defense all the time and in games like this that’s what it’s going to boil down to,” said Goreville coach Shanna Massey. “I thought Lexi did a real nice job pitching, but if you have errors you aren’t going to win. It just can’t happen, especially in a game like this, but we usually come together defensively by end of the season.”
The Lady Pioneers took a 1-0 lead in the first. Danyelle Eilers doubled into the left field corner. On the first pitch to Juhle Prange, the ball got away from catcher Shayna Elms sending Eilers to third, but as she approached the bag Elms tried to get her and her throw was wide allowing Eilers to round the bag and score.
The score remained 1-0 with Trico having a runner thrown out at the plate in the fourth inning, just before a base hit by Maysa Titsworth. Trico also left the bases loaded in the sixth.
Kranawetter led off the top of the seventh with a ground ball the first baseman bobbled allowing her to reach base. Eilers then laid down a bunt that King fielded and threw to the second baseman who was covering first, she just missed the bag with her foot leaving the runners at the corners.
Prange, who was at the plate when the run scored in the first inning, fouled out to first, but when Elms came down the line to back up the play it left home plate uncovered allowing Kranawetter, who was thrown out at the plate in the first inning trying to score on a wild pitch, to tag and score the eventual winning run, while Eilers also tagged and advanced to third, where she scored two pitches later on a passed ball.