By Lenny Sementi
The Tuscola High School softball team has had more than a few games cancelled in the early going, but this past week they took advantage a few makeup contests thanks to hard-working Warrior AD Ryan Hornaday. The Lady Warriors ran past Neoga 11-1 on Tues., April 1, 2014, and then jumped out early on Villa Grove Sat., April 5 and never looked back, downing the Lady Blue Devils 15-1.
Senior hurler Erin Walker collected the win in both contests, working 10 innings in all, giving just four hits and a walk while striking out 18. Teammates Karli Allen and Anna Watson did their share of the damage at the plate. Allen touched ‘em all in each of the games, adding three hits, two home runs and nine RBI to her season stats. Watson, on the other hand, sped her way around the bases, going 5 for 5 in the two games, scoring six runs while swiping five stolen bases.
•Tuscola 11, Neoga 1
Watson tripled to open the game, but a coaching snafu cost the Warriors a run on a sac fly by Amber Tabeling as the Warriors went down scoreless in the first. Walker fanned the first two in the bottom half, then induced to Allen at first base for the third out of the inning. Madeline Meinhold walked to open the second, moved on a ground ball by Peyton Shelmadine, and scored on a triple by Alexis Giuliani, making it 1-0 Warriors.
Tuscola broke it open in the third with a four spot, kickstarted on a bunt single by Watson. The speedy sophomore quickly stole second and then scored on a single to right by Tabeling, who then scored one batter later on a 2-run home run by Allen, adding two more runs to the scoreboard. Meinhold reached on her second walk of the game, and then scored on a line drive base hit by Shelmadine to make it 5-0 Warriors.
Walker gave up her first hit of the game on a two-out single, but the senior did the rest, fanning the next batter to strike out the side. Watson walked with one gone in the top of the fourth, stole second and third, then scored on a sac fly by Allen.
Tuscola blew it wide open in the sixth, starting with a leadoff triple by Halle McCrory. She scored one batter later on a bunt single by Watson. Tabeling followed with a walk to load the bases and Walker took one for the team to push McCrory across the dish. Meinhold followed with a sac fly to score Watson, then Shelmadine reached on an error, scoring Tabeling. Morgan Little then singled, putting two more in the book to wrap up the scoring.
•Tuscola 15, Villa Grove-Heritage 1
The Lady Warriors were offensive minded early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first, and never looked back. Watson reached on a walk, and stole second and third before Allen and Walker both were hit by pitches to load the bases. Enter Shelmadine. The junior center fielder doubled to right center, adding two RBI to her season stat sheet. Little followed with a sac fly to push Walker across, making it 3-0 Warriors after one.
It was more of the same in the second as Tuscola put five more on the board running out to an early 8-0 advantage. McCrory led off with a single, moved on a single by Jacobs, and then scored on a sac bunt by Watson. Jacobs was 3 for 3 on the day with three runs scored. Tabeling followed with a slap single, driving in Jacobs, and then stole second. Allen doubled to the fence to push in one more. Walker and Shelmadine followed with back-to-back base knocks, pushing two more across to end the scoring in the frame.
They added to the lead again in the third, tallying four runs on hits by Jacobs, Watson, and Tabeling. Allen then put the cherry on top with a laser-beam grand slam to left that cleared the bases. McCrory, Jacobs, and Watson opened the bottom of the fourth with base hits, and all three scored to make 15-1 Warriors. VG got on the board in the top of the fourth thanks to a hit and an error, but in the fifth Walker closed them out by striking out the first two to step to the plate before Giuliani squeezed a fly ball to first to end the game.
•JV wins two
Morgan Day homered for the second straight contest and the third time this year in the JV game that followed, leading the Warriors to a 12-0 victory. Emma Sementi reached all three times in the game, scoring twice, while Anna Kaufman added two hits to her resume.
Day and Abbey Walsh both led off the JV game in Neoga with back-to-back dingers as the Warriors cruised to victory. Allen joined with Meinhold to collect the win at Neoga, and then partnered with Day for the win against VG-Heritage.