Rainout make-up game a wash
Eudora run-rules Wellsville 10-0; Broncos kill perfect season
The Eudora Cardinals softball team improved to 11-1 during a brutal stretch that included three doubleheaders in seven days.
Eudora's April 20 date with Wellsville was a washout, forcing the teams into a doubleheader the following night. The Cardinals responded with a pair of 10-0 run-rule romps.
Thursday sent the Cards to Spring Hill where the reception was chilly at best and thrilling at worst.
Eudora won the night's first game 4-3 with a sensational seventh-inning rally.
Another Cardinal comeback was negated in the nightcap. Eudora rallied from seven runs down, tying the game with five in the seventh. But the Broncos battled back with a run in the bottom half of the inning, defeating the Cards 7-6 and ending Eudora's perfect season.
The Cardinals reboundedTuesday with solid 8-3 and 5-1 victories over the Prairie View Buffalos.
"These were two huge games for us," head coach Cara Kimberlin said. "If you lose a game to Prairie View, you knock yourself out of the fight for a league title."
Eudora ace Kelly Spence delivered 18 knockouts of her own on the night -- 18 strikeouts to just two walks.
Spence's ERA remains well below 1.00 on the season.
And the Eudora offense, for the sixth consecutive game tallied at least three runs in a single inning.
"The team as a whole got it going inin both games today," Kimberlin said. "You've got to be able to string some hits together like that."
The big inning didn't come around as frequently a season ago. Neither did the extra base hits the Cardinals have been generating lately.
"At this point, we probably have more extra base hits than the previous three years combined," Kimberlin said. "We just seem to be hitting the ball to the gaps and over the outfielders' heads.
"We haven't played on any huge fields yet either."
Junior Alissa Hamilton was 2-for-6 with a double, two runs and three RBIs. Sophomore Michelle Deluna went 2-for-6 with a double, a run scored, and two RBIs.
At no other time was Eudora's explosiveness more evident than at Spring Hill. The Broncos broke a 1-1 game one tie with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Spring Hill's surge left the Cards with three outs to preserve their unblemished record.
Three outs were enough as Eudora plated three runs in the frame in fantastic fashion.
Sophomore Kelsey Epperson delivered the big blow of the game. The rally began with no one on and two down.
The next four Cardinals reached base, scoring one run and loading the bases.
Epperson followed with a screamer through the legs of the Spring Hill shortstop. Two runs were scored, giving the Cards the 4-3 advantage.
"Kelsey told me afterward that she was so nervous," Kimberlin said. "But she did her job and got the ball to the outfield and scored those two runs."
The game-two turnaround was even more impressive albeit less effective.
Eudora entered the top of the sixth trailing 7-0. The Cardinals scored a run in the sixth and then five in the seventh, tying the game at 7-7.
Unfortunately, the Broncos had the top of the order coming up in the home half of the seventh. The top four in the batting order scored all 10 of Spring Hill's runs during the double-dip, including the game winner in the bottom of the seventh.
The Cards rally was short, but the virtues should live on throughout the remainder of the season.
"They're just not going to quit on me, themselves or their teammates," Kimberlin said. "It says a great amount about their character.
"I think last year we would have conceded the loss. I don't think we had the fight in us. They have a real drive to win this year."
The Spring Hill game was a far cry from the Wellsville whipping.
Spence and promising freshman Caitlyn Riser combined to allow just one hit on the night, no-hitting Wellsville in game two.
And Hamilton finally did it, hammering a two-run homer over the left field fence in the first inning of game one.
In the nightcap the top-three batters in the order, juniors Kayla Moyer and Jacqueline Pyle and Epperson, combined to go 5-for-10 with seven runs scored.
Spence helped her own cause, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and four RBIs.
"We played pretty solid and hit the ball well in both games," Kimberlin said. "Wellsville's struggling and hasn't won a game yet. And as well as we're playing and as down as they're playing, we should have run-ruled them twice."
Now the Cardinals prepare for their most important games of the year with a Thursday date versus Paola.