Cardinal softball team takes it down to the wire
It took nine runs and nine innings, but the Eudora softball team outlasted Wellsville last Thursday to claim its second victory of the season.
Playing against a strong south wind and blowing dirt in Wellsville, the nightcap of the twin bill was tied 8-8 after seven, forcing extra innings. Eudora failed to score in its half of the eighth, giving the Eagles a golden opportunity.
The teams played by international rules, which put a runner on second to start extra innings. With the runner aboard, the first batter got to first with a bunt single. The next Eagle lined out to Andrea Ahrens in short center, who threw from her knees to pitcher Melanie Smith. Smith relayed the throw home and catcher Wendi Burke applied the tag to complete the double play. A harmless foul pop to Shena Niedens ended the threat.
Niedens then became the Cardinals' runner at second. Karen Grosdidier bunted her to third and Betsy Hickman delivered a double to left that proved to be the game winner.
Up 9-8, Eudora held in the bottom of the ninth, giving the win to Smith.
"Betsy Hickman was the difference in that game," EHS coach Cara Kimberlin said. "She kept coming up with extra base hits."
The senior right fielder went 4-for-5 in the contest with three doubles and five RBIs and her double to center in the opening frame put Eudora up 3-0. Ashley Kraus led off the game with a triple and Niedens doubled in a run in the first.
Wellsville came back with two in the first and four in the second to go ahead 6-3 but Eudora answered in the third with three of its own to tie it. The lead was sort-lived when the Eagles plated a run in their half of the third.
In the fifth, Grosdidier smacked one of her five hits on the day, and Hickman followed with a double that hit the fence in left. Lauren Kracl hit a sacrifice fly that scored Grosdidier and Ahrens hit Hickman in to put Eudora back on top 8-7. Wellsville managed a run in the seventh but left the bases loaded, setting up extra innings.
"I was like a pit bull at Wellsville, I couldn't relax," Coach Kimberlin said. "Both games were exciting."
Despite flawless fielding and two hits each by Burke, Grosdidier and Hickman, Eudora came up short 3-2 in the opener at Wellsville. The Cardinals scattered hits until the fourth when Grosdidier led off with a single and Kracl reached on an error. Hickman ripped a double past third base to tie the contest at 2-2 and that's where it stayed until the bottom of the seventh.
With runners on second and third, Kimberlin told senior hurler Melanie Smith to keep the ball outside and walk the next batter to set up a force at any base. Smith had to pitch because intentional walks are not allowed, and the Wellsville batter reached out and poked it through the infield for the game winner.
"Melanie did what I asked her to do, it just didn't work," Kimberlin said.
Smith and company bounced back in the second game to end a five-game drought and continued their winning ways Tuesday with a 3-1 victory at home against Spring Hill.
All the scoring occurred in the third frame. Ahrens walked to start the Cardinals off and Kraus bunted her to second.
Burke then struck out, but alertly made it to first when the catcher dropped the ball. Smith helped her cause with a RBI hit that fell in over first base and she and Burke came around to score on errors.
Other highlights in the game included a saving catch by Ahrens and a double play on a fly to Hickman in short right that caught the runner off first. Burke had two hits; Niedens walked twice and was hit by a pitch; and Kraus also took one for the team.
In game two with the Broncos, Eudora suffered a 10-0 loss and an injury to senior catcher Wendi Burke.
On an inning-ending double play in the second, Burke tagged the runner out at home but injured her hand. She will not play Friday at Prairie View and is questionable for next week. Backup catcher Crystal Landis was previously lost for the season with a knee injury, so Julia Born was asked to catch.
"We came out and played strong in every aspect of the first game. It was quite a momentum swing when Wendi got hurt. She's a senior leader and had three hits. Julia's got a great arm and is a pretty tough-nosed kid so I asked her to go in and block the ball."
Born, a junior who had never caught before, threw out a runner trying to steal second in her debut.
Niedens had two hits in the loss; Kraus, Burke, Hickman, Grosdidier and Mary Johnson each singled. The Cardinals stranded eight and left the bases jammed in the fourth.
The Cardinals, 3-7, are home again Tuesday to host a doubleheader with Paola.