CAMPBELL HILL – Steeleville jumped out to a 4-1 lead, and Sydney Hood pitched around five errors to make it hold up to hand Trico its first loss of the season after seven wins, 4-3, in a non-conference softball game Monday.
“It’s been one of those years that we’ve been playing a lot of 3A and 4A ball,” said Steeleville coach Andy Gerlach. “We played Alton-Marquette yesterday and their pitcher is going to Pittsburg and she threw well too. That was great tune-up game to be facing a great pitcher like Jade Kranawetter. The key to the game was believing they could hit her and hopefully we can keep this going.”
Hood (7-5) went the distance holding the Lady Pioneers to five hits. The senior right-hander also struck out seven, walked five and hit a batter.
“I came into this game really wanting a win, because we’ve had a couple rough games lately that we didn’t come through,” Hood said. “I threw a lot of fastballs, but just hitting my spots that was really big.”
Junior first baseman Karley Kothe went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a triple to score the eventual winning run, with three RBIs and two runs scored.
“We always look forward to this game and I guess today I was on,” Kothe said. “We push ourselves to really concentrate on the pitches. On the triple it was a little outside, so I pulled it a little. Since I’m not that fast I had to get out as quick as I could otherwise I wasn’t going to make it to third.”
Steeleville (8-5) jumped on Kranawetter for two runs in top of the first, added two more runs in the top of the sixth and withstood a bottom of the seventh rally starting with a key defensive play by catcher Anna Beth Batson.
“I don’t think we showed up today,” said Trico coach Andrew Franklin. “There’s about three words you could summarize that whole game, not very good. Pitch one to the very end of the game, we were not very good today. It’s my fault because we didn’t prepare for the game, but I guarantee you that won’t happen again.”
Trailing 4-1, Abbie Pierce led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield hit off of Hood’s glove. On the second pitch to Maysa Titsworth, Batson picked Pierce off first before Hood walked Titsworth.
“It was a high pitch and I saw from the side view as I got up that she had a big lead, so I figured I might as well throw it,” Batson said. “I had a good throw and it helped big time.”
Hood got Jaelin King to hit a high fly ball that Katie Myers dropped in centerfield. Titsworth scored on a wild throw, and King advanced to third to bring Kranawetter to the plate down 4-2.
Kranawetter then tried to bunt, but King held at third and Batson threw Kranawetter out at first. Danyelle Eilers then drew a walk and Juhle Prange reached on a bloop over the shortstop to drive in King.
Still up by a run with runners at first and second, Hood got Katie Gale on a ground ball that Kothe fielded and threw to first to preserve the upset.
Hood got the first inning rally going with a leadoff hit on a 1-2 count. Two strikeouts later Mackienzie Pim lined a 1-0 pitch off the fence in right center to put runners at the corners with Kothe coming up.
Kothe jumped on Kranawetter’s first pitch and hit a dying quail that fell in short left to drive in courtesy runner Rachel Bradley from third and Pim, who was running on the pitch, from first base.
“She usually throws the first pitch as a strike, so whether it’s outside or inside you have to be ready, so I don’t even think about it,” Kothe said.
Kranawetter (6-1) helped her own cause in the bottom of the first hitting a one-out solo home run, her first of the season, over the fence in left center to cut the lead to 2-1.
Danyelle Eilers followed with a base hit to right and advanced to second when Lexi Renner tried to pick her off after she rounded first, but her throw got away from the first baseman.
Hood and Batson then went to work striking out Prange, but the ball got away from Batson long enough to allow Eilers to advance to third, but Batson still managed to throw out Prange at first. Hood struck out Gale on a ball in the dirt, but Batson calmly threw her out at first to hold onto the lead 2-1.
Hood set down the next four batters before Jaelin King reached on a throwing error bring Kranawetter to the plate. On a 3-1 pitch Kranawetter hit a screamer that the shortstop caught and relayed to third to pick off King for the inning-ending double play.
Batson was busy in the fourth handling a dropped third strike on the leadoff batter and picking off Prange, who had walked with one out. Hood then walked Gale and gave up an infield hit off her leg to Lexi Smith, but got out of the jam by getting Hailey Nagel on a pop fly to second.
With one out in the fifth Hood allowed Titsworth to reach on a wild pitch on a third strike, but held onto the lead by getting King on a pop fly to short and Kranawetter on a ground ball to short.
After giving up a two-out base hit in the second Kranawetter had retired 2 batters in a row, including the first two batters in the sixth before walking Pim on a low, outside 3-2 pitch.
Kothe made her pay hitting 1-1 pitch into the left field corner where a diving Nagel just missed catching ball and when Nagel finally got the ball back in Kothe was sliding into third base. She scored on a double by Katie Myers to up the lead to 4-1.