K-P makes quick work of George-Little Rock in softball regional opener

Wednesday, July 6, 2022
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Makenna Bowman watches her game-ending home run fly off her bat in Kingsley-Pierson’s 13-0 win in three innings over George-Little Rock in the first round of Class 1A regionals.

KINGSLEY — The Kingsley-Pierson softball team quickly took care of business in their Class 1A regional opening round game on Friday. The Panthers won 13-0 in three innings in a game which lasted about 50 minutes.

“Something we’ve really been drilling in is waiting on the ball, being able to wait for it, wait for your pitch and they really executed well today,” K-P Head Coach Erika Bates said.

The Panthers struck for eight of their runs in the first inning. McKenzie Goodwin led off the game with a single and advanced from first to third on a sacrifice bunt from Makenna Bowman. Goodwin scored as Avery Schroeder reached on an error.

The inning continued with a walk to Reagan Vos and Brooklyn Beelner drove in two runs with a double. Hannah Koch made it 4-0 with a single to left and another run scored as Kenzie Beeson reached on an error.

A mound visit to try to settle down pitcher Kami Gerken worked momentarily as she got the next batter to pop out, but the Panthers followed with back-to-back RBI doubles for Chloe Peschau and Goodwin. Bowman capped off the scoring in the frame with an RBI single up the middle.

After the Panthers ended the regular season losing three of their last four games including just a one run scoring output in their last game of the regular season against 1A No. 2 ranked Newell-Fonda, Bowman said it was nice to see the bats get hot again.

“We did have a little rough patch, but I think this game really helped everyone’s confidence come up in the batting,” Bowman said. “I think this game was a really good one to start off with our districts and everything coming up before state.”

The Panthers added to their lead in the second inning as they loaded the bases and had two runs score on a wild pitch. Beeson drove in the other run of the inning on a ground out.

While the offense was doing their job at the plate, pitcher Koch was doing her part in the circle. In the first inning, the leadoff batter reached on an error, but Koch sent the next three batters down in order. She faced the same number of batters in the second as Samantha Fugitt hit a double, but Koch worked around that with no trouble. She also faced four batters in the third inning, yielding an infield single to Alexis Landis, but getting two of the other three batters in the frame to strike out as she finished with four strikeouts in the three innings.

“Tonight was just a good example of how well she can pitch which is really great to see,” Bates said.

The Panthers needed just one run in the third to end the game early, but ended up getting two. Pinch-hitter Aida Pratt led off the inning with a walk before Bowman sent a ball over the fence for the game-ending home run.

“I was just looking to make contact and if it goes, it goes,” Bowman said.

The home run was her third of the season which leads the team. It’s the sixth of her career after finishing last season with three.

“This is just another one to put on her shelf at home,” Bates said. “She’s great and she deserved every bit of that hit.”

The Panthers (18-10) will host MMCRU (15-11) in the regional quarterfinal round on Wednesday. The two teams met earlier this season in Remsen, a game which K-P won 10-4.

Bates said the team is motivated to keep their season alive as long as possible.

“We just talk about you keep having fun, you keep doing the things that you know how to do, routine plays, getting hits, and they’ll be able to win a ball game with this team,” Bates said. “You don’t have to push them too much. They’re pretty self-driven and so you just show up, give them a little motivational talk and they take it the rest of the way.”

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