Cripe fans all 9 she faces as Pioneer routs Argos
Gotshall, Walker also homer; Ness breaks up no-hit bid with RBI single in 5th
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ROYAL CENTER –- Hailey Cripe struck out all nine batters she faced in the circle, and Hailey Gotshall and Mackenzie Walker both homered to lead the Pioneer softball team to a 22-1 win in five innings over visiting Argos at Herk Hoffman Field Monday.
Avery Ness’ two-out RBI infield single off Crystabelle Blickenstaff in the top of the fifth was Argos’ lone hit. The hit brought home Brylee Elliott.
Pioneer had 15 hits and also drew 13 walks in four innings’ worth of at-bats. Of the 12 outs that Pioneer made, eight of them came when Pioneer baserunners were instructed to take illegal leadoffs.
Walker and fellow senior Madison Blickenstaff had four RBIs each. Emma Novaski added two doubles and three RBIs, and Carlie Morris had three RBIs off the bench. Crystabelle Blickenstaff went 3 for 3 with two RBIs.
“I liked the way we had a lot of plate discipline at the plate,” Pioneer coach Gabrielle Thomas said. “And pitchers came out and pitched really well. Just a good team day.”
Argos starter Aleasia Sarver retired her first batter when Pioneer leadoff hitter Kylie Farris was called out for leaving the batter’s box when putting the ball in play.
Gotshall reached second on a dropped fly ball, and Cripe walked. Walker ripped a two-run double. Walker went to third on a passed ball and scored on Madison Blickenstaff’s RBI single.
Novaski’s RBI double made it 4-0, and Brooklyn Borges, who had walked, scored on the throw to try and get Novaski at second.
And when Farris, batting for the second time in the inning, had her ground ball booted for an error, two more runs scored.
In the second, Gotshall reached on an error before Sarver walked Cripe and Walker. Madison Blickenstaff then smoked a three-run double to deep left to make it 10-0. Novaski’s two-run double three batters later off reliever Makena Lineberry extended the lead to 12.
“She hits the ball hard,” Thomas said of Novaski. “She does a very good job of executing what she needs to and being that DP (designated player).”
Gotshall lined a homer to left-center to lead off the third. Carlie Morris and Emilie Schmaltz had back-to-back RBI walks to make it 15-0. Crystabelle Blickenstaff’s two-run single made it 17-0, and Jocelynn Vincent’s RBI single capped the inning.
Walker’s towering two-run homer and Morris’ two-run double completed the scoring.
“They did an excellent job of finding their pitch and driving it,” Thomas said of Gotshall and Walker. “They always do a great job of looking for that pitch and if it’s not there, waiting on it.”
In the circle, Cripe tore through the Argos lineup with heat. All nine of her strikeouts were swinging.
Cripe had allowed six runs in the first inning against Rochester at Carroll Saturday, but that game was rained out after three innings.
“There was no rain, no wind,” Cripe said. “The conditions were much better, and I wasn’t sliding around with my feet. So I was able to get position with my legs and use my legs to throw today. So pitching-wise, I definitely threw with a lot more velocity, and I didn’t tend to hit or walk as many batters today.”
Argos was coming off a 26-5 loss in five innings to Triton Saturday. Argos coach Alyssa Thayer wants her players to have more self-belief.
“To stay up, for sure,” Thayer said when asked what she hoped her team would learn from the game. “Pioneer’s a great team. I just think they need to have some more confidence in themselves at times. Maybe learning the game a little bit better too. Pioneer can teach us a lesson on how people move and things like that as well.”
Pioneer 22, Argos 1 (5 innings)
Argos 000 01 – 1 1 2
Pioneer 756 4X – 22 15 0
WP – Hailey Cripe (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K)
LP – Aleasia Sarver (1+ IP, 4 H, 12 R, 8 ER, 6 BB, 0 K)
2B – Hailey Gotshall (PIO), Mackenzie Walker (PIO), Madison Blickenstaff (PIO), Carlie Morris (PIO), Emma Novaski 2 (PIO)
HR – Hailey Gotshall (PIO), Mackenzie Walker (PIO)
Hailey Cripe Emma Novaski Jo Walker