Kingsley-Pierson softball out-slugs MMCRU for win
REMSEN — Two of Class 1A’s better scoring teams faced off in a non-conference softball game on Tuesday.
MMCRU, which is averaging over nine runs per game and is in the top 10 in the class in scoring average, faced Kingsley-Pierson, which is averaging eight runs per game and is in the top 20 in the class in scoring average. On Tuesday, it was the offense of the Panthers which came out on top of a 10-4 game over the Royals.
“The offense has been coming on so strong,” K-P Head Coach Erika Bates said. “We’ve been working around a few different lineups and I think now we’re finally finding a spot where we’re locked in here. They’re really able to put some runs together, score some big hits. I’m loving the way the offense is going right now.”
The Panthers scored three runs in the first and the Royals got one of those back in the second. K-P broke the game open with a five run third inning. Chloe Peschau hit a double to right to make it 5-1 in the inning and a hit-by-pitch from McKenzie Goodwin filled the bases. Another run scored on a walk to Kenzie Beeson and the team added two more as Avery Schroeder reached on an error.
It looked like the Royals were going to be able to answer in the bottom of the inning, but their offense fizzled out after loading the bases. Breanna Staab started off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. Isabelle Olson sent a single up the middle and Taylor Harpenau reached safely on a fielder’s choice as the Panthers tried to get the lead runner at third, but were late on the play.
With the bases loaded, K-P pitcher Hannah Koch was able to work out of the jam with no damage allowed. She struck out Mya Holmes, got Emily Dreckman to ground the ball to the shortstop who threw to home to get the force out, and then got Makenzie Meyer to pop out to second base to end the inning.
MMCRU Head Coach Mike Olson said not being able to get anything out of that bases-loaded situation likely changed the trajectory of the game.
“You get two or three runs in that inning and it gives those girls on the mound a little more confidence, a little more confidence in the offense that they don’t have to do everything. They can do their job on the mound and the offense will take care of itself,” Olson said.
The Panthers added an insurance run in the sixth and one more in the seventh. MMCRU was finally able to string together a bit of a rally for three runs in their final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh.
“The energy was down a little bit in the middle of the game,” Olson said. “In the sixth inning it started popping back up so I was happy with that. They were fighting. It seems like runs come with our energy as well. If we can have a higher energy level than the teams we are facing, we have a great shot, but that’s got to be every inning of every game.”
Staab started the rally with a single, Harpenau reached after getting hit by a pitch and Holmes sent a double deep to left field to bring in the two runs. An RBI ground out from Dreckman gave the Royals their final run.
Bates said Koch did a pretty good job of keeping the Royals off-balance for most of the night as the K-P pitcher ended with four runs allowed on five hits, a walk and two hit batters. She also struck out four.
“She always makes it work,” Bates said. “She always adjusts to her batters, adjusts to her strike zones and she does a great job.”
Koch helped her own cause by picking up 2 RBI at the pate as she reached on a single and double and also had a sacrifice in the game.
Kaleigh Gravenish took the loss in 4 2/3 innings while striking out three. Isabelle Richardson tossed 2 1/3 innings and struck out one.
Both teams saw their season records stand at 7-4 at the end of the night.