Squaws hold on in seventh, ride Wilder to 3-2 win
KUHNLE SMASHâ€”Bellmont shortstop Taylor Kuhnle lifts a pitch from a Homestead hurler over the fence during Monday nightâ€™s win over the Spartans 3-2. (Photo by Kalvin Fiechter)
For the first time in over a decade, Bellmont defeated Homestead on the softball pitch.
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It sure didn't come easy.
Nursing a two-run lead heading into the seventh inning, Bellmont allowed Homestead to load the bases and send a run home before registering an out but managed to hold on to win by a score of 3-2 for their first conference victory of the season.
Bellmont moved to 2-7 overall after picking up their first win of the season over North Side last week.
Two singles that dropped in between three Squaw players started off the seventh frame for Homestead, then a sharp grounder to short was misplayed by Taylor Kuhnle as a Spartan runner leapt in front of her as the ball got to her glove and the bases were loaded.
Janaya Wilder, pitching a gem of a game for coach Rick Burkhalter and the Squaws, made her only mistake of the game on the next play when a slow roller to the right of the mound was misplayed and Veronika Grote was safe at first with an RBI leaving the bases still loaded with no one out.
"We never panicked," coach Burkhalter noted after the game. "Too many times this season already we've gotten ourselves into these situations and then just let it get out of hand. Tonight it wasn't errors they just hit the ball in that last inning and we never cracked."
Wilder would make up for the error on the very next play when Bailey Willis hit a sharp grounder up the middle that the sophomore snagged cleanly. Wilder threw home to get the lead runner and an alert Courtney Scherer at home plate pivoted down the line and rifled a bullet to first for the double play. Sarah Galavich took the first pitch she saw during the next at-bat to centerfield like a laser beam straight into the glove of the waiting Jessica Walther and as quickly as Homestead had threatened the Squaws, the game was over.
Before the seventh, Homestead struggled to get anything going against Wilder on the mound. The sophomore brought her good stuff to the Spartans striking out nine batters while scattering seven hits through seven innings. At one point between the second and fifth innings, seven straight outs retired were strikeout victims from Wilder as her change of speed and curveball perplexed the Lady Spartans all night long.