BENTON — Kiley Carter won the game in relief and hit her first home run over the season and cleanup batter Lacey Jerkins had two hits, two RBIs and scored the winning run to lead Benton to a 7-6 win over Trico to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon.
The Rangerettes handed the Pioneers their second loss of the day in a four-team round robin.
“It was a good game with two big innings scoring three in the third and four in the fifth,” said Benton coach Ryan Miller. “I thought up and down our lineup everyone had at least one good at-bat whether it be a hit, a walk or put the ball into play. Addisyn Miller kept us in the game and Kiley pitched really well to close it out after having trouble with her location in the first game. Lacey hit the ball really hard. When she’s hitting we’re going to be OK.”
Carter (1-2), who had been the starting pitcher in the morning game and lasted less than three innings in an 11-1 loss to Tuscola, came into the game in the fourth inning in relief of Miller with runners at first and third with one out and two runs already scored and scored tied 3-3.
“I lasted for about two innings in the morning game, but if it weren’t for my teammates backing me in the second game we couldn’t have won,” Carter said. “Coach told me I might go in the second game, but honestly I wasn’t expecting to pitch because Addie was pitching.”
After a pop out to second, she uncorked a wild pitch to give Trico the lead on the first pitch to Dalyn Eilers before eventually walking Eilers. However, she shut the rally down by getting Maysa Titsworth on a comebacker.
In the fifth, Trico upped its lead to 5-3 on a one-out single by Abbie Pierce, a two-out single by Reagan Couch and an error, but Carter, after walking the bases full, got out of her second jam by getting Myah Kelley to line out to center.
Carter got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth, when she led off and lined Eilers first pitch over the right field fence to start a four-run game-winning rally.
“My mom was saying you might want to switch bats because you haven’t hit very good and so I switched and first pitch it was right in there and I hit it hard,” Carter said.
Then a throwing error followed by a fielding error by the Pioneer shortstop opened the flood gates for the Rangerettes. With runners at first and third and no outs, Jerkins, who doubled in a run in the third to give Benton a 3-1 lead at the time, lined Eilers second pitch to centerfield to drive in the second run to tie the score at 5.
“It was not a clean game for us at all,” said Trico coach Andrew Franklin. “Our youth showed a little bit today and hopefully we’ll learn from it.”
With runners at second and third, and Morgan Reno at the plate, Pioneer catcher Alyssa Bastien tried to pick Miller off third on a ball in the dirt, but her throw grazed the bat of Reno in the batter’s box and ended up in foul territory at third allowing Miller to score and Jerkins to advance third, where she scored on a ground out to second on the next pitch to give Benton a 7-5 lead.
“The first game was a little rough, but the second one was better,” Jerkins said. “We just stuck with it and it feels awesome to get our first win.”
In the other morning game, Zeigler-Royalton beat Trico, 10-9 to hand the Pioneers their first loss of the season and in the other afternoon game, Tuscola beat Zeigler-Royalton, 4-1. Tuscola’s 11-1 win over Benton in the morning was significant for Tuscola coach Lenny Sementi marking his 400th career victory at the helm of the Lady Warriors.
“We lost in the sectional championship last year, so we would have made the Elite Eight if I had won my 400th last year,” Sementi said. “This was our first game this year, so it was good to get it done.”