‘Mad’ dash home: Smith scores winning run on Scales’ groundout in Caston walkoff win over Logansport
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
FULTON –- The Caston softball team is hitting its stride.
Literally and specifically, they relied on the long strides of Macee Hinderlider and Maddi Smith against visiting Logansport Monday.
Smith’s hustle home on Isabel Scales’ grounder to third capped off a two-run seventh and
gave the Lady Comets a 5-4 walk-off win and improve their record to 2-0.
Logansport fell to 0-1.
Kinzie Mollenkopf got the win in the circle and also had two hits and two RBIs at the plate. Scales went hitless in four at-bats but also had two RBIs. Smith went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Freshman Addison Zimpleman had a pair of doubles and is now 6 for 7 with four extra-base hits in her nascent career.
Trailing 3-2 with two outs in the top of the seventh, Logansport rallied to take the lead on Chloe Kelly’s two-run single off Mollenkopf.
Caston bounced right back.
Hinderlider reached on an error and went to third when Smith tucked a hot grounder just inside the third baseline for a double.
Mollenkopf then hit a looping pop-up into shallow right field. Logansport second baseman Pailei Cripe ran it down, but Hinderlider hustled home to tie the game at 4. Smith advanced to third on the play.
Logansport pitcher Claire Kitchel then intentionally walked Addison Zimpleman.
That brought up Scales, who hit a grounder to Kendra Sutton at third base. As soon as Sutton unleashed her throw to first, Smith started for home.
Scales was out. Lady Berry first baseman Addison Guire immediately fired home.
Smith dove in head first as catcher Katy Hall slapped down a tag.
A jubilant Smith jumped up to celebrate with her teammates from the third base dugout.
“They’re like a broncing bull just waiting to get out of the gate,” Caston coach Jon Burks said of his players. “You know, just clanking in there, you open the gate and you let them go. Seriously, they’re just that competitive. They want to be out there. Being down like that, that’s not going to deter them.”
Though Smith is a junior, her conversion to a left-handed slap hitter did not start until her sophomore season, which ultimately was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Speed kills, do you know what I’m saying?” Burks, a 1984 Logansport grad, said. “She gets on, and she’s our catalyst as far as starting to score runs. … She’s going to cause havoc out there on the base paths. We’ve been working with her trying to get that slap down. Because originally, she bats right-handed. … Coming into this year, we asked her how do you feel about it. She said she was fine with it, and we just worked with her in practice, and I think she’s starting to get it.”
Mollenkopf allowed Abby Henderson’s RBI double and Kelly’s RBI single in the top of the first, but Caston scored three times in the third to take a 3-2 lead.
Mollenkopf, a sophomore pitching in her first varsity game, protected the lead until the seventh. She struck out Henderson and got Guire on a pop to Zimpleman short with two on and one out in the second.
She got Kitchel on a pop to Annie Harsh at first with two in scoring position in the third.
She hit Henderson with a pitch with two outs in the fourth, but Scales, a freshman catcher, gunned her down trying to steal.
And she got Kitchel to hit into an unusual double play to end the sixth when Ashlyn Berkshire was called out on appeal for leaving too early when trying to advance from second to third on a fly to Smith in center.
She then got Justyce Rohrabaugh on a comebacker and fanned Cripe swinging to start the seventh. She was one out away.
But then she hit Henderson again. Guire’s bloop single to right moved Henderson to third. Guire then stole second. And Kelly then singled in the hole on the left side to score Henderson and Guire to give Logansport a 4-3 lead.
But Mollenkopf atoned with her sacrifice fly in the bottom half.
“In the top of the seventh inning, it was a little scary, but my team had my back, and I knew they were going to have my back, so it took away my nerves a little bit, and in the bottom of the seventh inning, I was jumping on the fence and excited for Maddi and Isabel,” Mollenkopf said.
Trailing 2-0 in the third, Hinderlider led off with a walk. Smith then dropped a sacrifice bunt towards the third baseman. The rushed throw to try to get her at first was wild for an error and rolled into foul territory down the right field line.
Hinderlider scored and Smith advanced to third. Smith’s speed had impacted the game for the first time but not the last.
Mollenkopf’s RBI single to center scored Smith to tie the game at 2. Zimpleman roped a double to left-center to move Mollenkopf to third, and Scales’ grounder to short scored Mollenkopf to give the Lady Comets their first lead.
“I’ve been playing softball for a very long time, since second grade,” Mollenkopf said. “And T-ball before that. And I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time, so I could just get out and do it myself.”
Caston 5, Logansport 4
Logansport 200 000 2 – 4 10 2
Caston 003 000 2 – 5 6 2
WP – Kinzie Mollenkopf (7 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 HBP, 6 K)
LP – Claire Kitchel (6 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K)
2B – Abby Henderson (LOG), Ashlyn Berkshire (LOG), Claire Kitchel (LOG), Maddi Smith (CAS), Addison Zimpleman 2 (CAS)
Watch the full Caston vs Logansport Softball game Here: