CARBONDALE — Hallie Waggoner nearly hit for the cycle, drove in four runs and pitched the first three innings as Pinckneyville downed Carbondale, 13-1 in six innings, Saturday morning in a non-conference softball game at the Superblock.
Megan Engelhardt also had four RBIs for Pinckneyville, which upped its winning streak to eight games and improved to 13-6. The Terriers dropped to 11-4.
"Carbondale is a very good team," said Pinckneyville coach Alan Engelhardt. "I told the girls that we took some really, really, really good at-bats and played pretty darn good defense against a really good team there."
The game was originally supposed to be a part of a round robin in Pinckneyville with Alton Marquette, but evolved to a single game at Carbondale's new turf field as the weather persisted Friday.
With the Lady Panthers now the visitors, they batted first and put their first two runners aboard as Kiya Hagene walked and Taylor Kurtz singled to left. It looked like Carbondale might escape unscathed when the next batter, Taylor Witges, lined to second baseman Autumn Lindsey for a double play.
But then Pinckneyville went on a two-out rally.
Lauren Jackson drove in the first run with a hit to center, then Megan Engelhardt doubled to left field and picked up an RBI when courtesy runner Anna Pestka slid under Carbondale catcher Savannah Talley's tag attempt.
Aubrey Bruns followed with a run-scoring hit to left field and Waggoner popped a double to left after fouling off four pitches to make it 4-0.
Then in the second, Lynlee Lindner led off with a double to right field and Hagene singled to left. Kurtz beat out a grounder to bring in a run, Witges followed with an RBI single and Jackson moved runners over with a grounder to allow Engelhardt to collect another RBI with a sacrifice fly, pushing the lead to 7-0.
Pinckneyville's batters were hitting the ball hard, but also getting a little help from some strong, biting wind gusts blowing across the outfield.
"We knew when we were hitting before the game, it was unbelievable how the balls would either pull immediately or die straight down," said Carbondale coach Kim Wheeler. "That's not an excuse though because it was the same for them. But they hit line drives and we lifted the ball."
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Pinckneyville's coach laughed when asked if he scouted the jet streams, but admitted the winds benefited the Lady Panthers' line-drive hitting lineup.
"We're blessed," Alan Engelhardt said. "They threw us pitches away and our righties did a good job of going with it and our lefties jumped on it and yanked some balls hard. The wind definitely helped us when we got into that right field corner."
Carbondale's lone run came in the bottom of the third. Talley led off and took a big swing just as the wind settled temporarily. The result was a moonshot homer inside the foul pole down the left-field line.
That was the only blemish against Waggoner as a hurler. Carbondale went on to load the bases after the home run, but a nice play from third baseman Megan Engelhardt resulted in a force out at home plate and Hagene caught a fly ball in center to end the threat.
Witges took over in the circle in the fourth and struck out the side. Waggoner had one strikeout and scattered five hits in her three frames and Witges fanned four with three hits allowed in her three.
"Hallie didn't have her best stuff early on, but our defense played really well behind her," Alan Engelhardt said. "We got the lead runner on three different occasions and that prevents runs. So then when Taylor came in and took the ball, she was good today. It was moving for her and nobody really squared anything up off her."
Pinckneyville's first eight runs, including an RBI single by Waggoner in the fifth, came against Carbondale starter Madison Galloway, but the final six were against reliever Kaitlyn Anders.
In the sixth, Anders got two quick outs but then plunked Kurtz to bring up Witges, who rocked an RBI triple into right field. Jackson drew a walk that brought up Megan Engelhardt, who scorched a liner just past Lindsey to plate two more runs.
Bruns kept the line moving with a walk and gave Waggoner another at-bat. This time she smacked a two-run triple to make it 13-1.
"I'm disappointed in our play," Wheeler said. "Pinckneyville did a good job of putting the ball in play and making connection with misses that we had from a pitch standpoint. They made us pay for those. But I'm disappointed in how we defended so we learn from it. We have to play better."