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  • Val T.

Cripe tosses perfect game vs. Culver

Gotshall homers twice, drives in 4, Robinson adds 3 hits and 3 RBIs


Sports Editor, RTC

ROYAL CENTER –- Hailey Cripe said that she is throwing a two-seam fastball.

That gives the Pioneer junior another weapon to throw at opposing hitters.

She showed off that weapon at Herk Hoffman Field in a 20-0 win in five innings over Culver

Hailey Cripe

in a Hoosier North home game Thursday.

Cripe struck out 14 of the 15 batters she faced. Twelve of the strikeouts were swinging. The only batter who put the ball in play was Maegan Pearl, who fouled to third in the first inning. Then came 13 consecutive strikeouts.

“I really was just throwing fastball today,” Cripe said. “I was throwing hard, and then I threw my rise ball, and my fastball tends to break on the outside a little bit better. It’s called a curve ball, but I don't throw a curve ball. I just throw a two-seam fastball which moves a lot more than just a four-seam fastball. So my fastball was working today with movement. That’s what really kept them off-balance.”

“Oh, by far the best,” Culver first-year coach Bill Moise said when asked to rank Cripe among pitchers his team has faced. “Her accuracy, her speed, everything. She’s just a tremendous pitcher. I mean, there’s absolutely no doubt about it.”

With the Twin Lakes Invitational coming up Friday and Saturday, Pioneer could play five games in two days. Therefore, it is important to have both Cripe and fellow circle ace Hailey Gotshall in top pitching form.

“We’ve got a long weekend ahead of us, and with both of our pitchers coming in strong, I’m excited,” Pioneer coach Gabrielle Thomas said.

Kylie Farris

Cripe, who was among the state leaders in batting average, was held hitless in three at-bats at the plate, but she scored two runs. She also got to enjoy a couple of leaping chest bumps with Gotshall, who homered twice, doubled, walked and had four RBIs.

Mackenzie Robinson, Cripe’s battery mate behind the plate, went 3 for 4 with four RBIs. Leadoff hitter Kylie Farris had three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Farris is a left-handed slap hitter, but she stung two line drives to the outfield in the mode of a “power slapper.”

“In the case of today, yes,” Thomas answered when asked if the left-handed hitting Farris is a power slapper. “But she can mix it up and drop that bunt if need be if they’re playing deep on her. … Read the defense and go.”

Four of the 12 outs that Culver recorded were on illegal step-offs.

Pioneer scored seven runs on seven hits in the first off Culver pitcher A.J. Hinds, who was coming off a no-hitter against Oregon-Davis two days earlier.

Gotshall hit a two-run homer, and Madison Blickenstaff drove in a run on a grounder to third to make it 3-0. Then came three consecutive doubles – an RBI double from Emma Novaski, a two-run double by Crystabelle Blickenstaff and an RBI double from Farris.

Pioneer scored six more in the second. Gotshall led off with another homer, Robinson had a two-run single, and Novaski had an RBI infield single to make it 11-0. Kylie Attinger, who was in as a courtesy runner for Robinson, scored on an error on a ball off Crystabelle Blickenstaff’s bat. Farris added another RBI infield single.

Robinson’s RBI single in the third made it 14-0.

Gotshall, Walker, Robinson and Jocelynn Vincent each had RBIs as part of a six-run fourth.

Moise emphasizes fun

Moise started his coaching career in the youth league at Culver, which he ran for six years. He was an assistant coach for four years under Brian Hammann before being hired to replace him.

“Just be competitive and just have a positive attitude and play the game and try to have fun,” Moise said of his message to his players. “Just keep themselves up. That’s what I try to tell them.”

‘Blick’s’ back better, so she’s back

Madison Blickenstaff was back in the Pioneer lineup. She suffered a back injury against Winamac on April 19 and had missed extensive time. She was the designated player, and when she reached base, a pinch runner was brought in to run for her.

“Hopefully she gets cleared for everything,” Thomas said. “Right now, she can only swing the bat and run to first. She can’t slide, so that’s why the situation that we have.”

Pioneer 20, Culver 0

Culver 000 00 – 0 0 5

Pioneer 761 6X – 20 18 0

WP – Hailey Cripe (5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 14 K)

LP – A.J. Hinds (4 IP, 18 H, 20 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 1 K)

2B – Kylie Farris (PIO), Hailey Gotshall (PIO), Mackenzie Walker 2 (PIO), Emma Novaski (PIO), Crystabelle Blickenstaff (PIO)

HR – Hailey Gotshall 2 (PIO)

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