GOREVILLE — They just about ran out of softballs Monday night because Trico kept blasting them over the fence.
The undefeated Pioneers drilled four long balls in the opener of a Black Diamond Conference doubleheader at City Park, routing Goreville 13-0. The nightcap was still in progress at The Southern's press time.
Trico (5-0, 1-0) has outscored its opponents 64-10. That includes a 10-4 win Saturday over perennial Class 2A power Breese Mater Dei. The only opponent to hold the Pioneers under double digits was Benton, but they still cruised to an 8-1 victory.
Trico coach Drew Franklin knows there’s plenty of season ahead, but also likes the length of his lineup and the depth of his roster.
“We had great pitching today with Josie (Wettig) and we have a lot of power in our lineup,” he said. “Not everyone can hit it out, but we have a lot of power. We have more depth than we have had in the past. You have to bust it every day in practice to keep your spot on this team.”
Wettig gave up just one hit – a one-out double to the left-center field fence in the fifth by Abby King – and fanned nine in a complete-game outing. After walking four hitters in the first three innings, Wettig displayed much better command in the last three innings, throwing only 34 pitches.
By that time, the Pioneers’ bats had settled the issue. Wettig initiated scoring in the second when she followed Bailey Kuhnert’s leadoff double to left-center with a no-doubt shot over the fence.
The lead grew to 4-0 in the third when Alyssa Bastien cracked a two-run blast to left-center. The ball left so quickly that the plate umpire could be heard telling Blackcats pitcher Reese Ray, “Got your new ball right here,” before it cleared the fence.
More power marked a five-run fifth. Madi Rathert blasted a one-iron over the center field fence that took a hop and disappeared into the trees. That two-run bomb was followed by a pinch-hit RBI double from Taylor Cottom, a sacrifice fly by Lorey Anderson and Myah Kelly’s two-out run-scoring single.
Rathert and Kuhnert polished things off in the sixth. Rathert punched a two-run triple into the right field corner and Kuhnert entered home run derby with a two-run shot over the right-center field fence.
Kuhnert finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, while Rathert knocked in four runs. Every Trico starter either picked up a hit or drove in a run.
“We have the potential for everyone in our lineup to come through with the bats,” Franklin said.
While the Pioneers bring a fully-stocked arsenal to the field, it’s going to take Goreville (1-2, 0-1) some time to figure out who it is. There were just two starters in the lineup for Monday night’s opener who were on the field for the Blackcats’ third Class 1A state title in eight years in 2019.
Coach Shanna Green’s track record suggests Goreville will be a tough out sooner instead of later. All one had to do Monday night is listen to the sound of the ball screaming off Trico bats to know it’s capable of playing games deep into June.
“Our fight, our grit and our hunger,” Franklin said when asked what impresses him about the Pioneers.
Franklin revealed after the game that Trico has picked up a marquee non-conference matchup May 13 at South Seven power Marion.