Mollenkopf tosses 3-hitter, gets homer help from Harsh, Zimpleman in Caston win
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
FULTON — Kinzie Mollenkopf pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts, and Annie Harsh and Isabel Scales each homered for the Caston softball team in a 3-1 home win over Logansport on May 4.
Mollenkopf also contributed at the plate with an RBI infield single in the first inning.
Mollenkopf, a Huntington University recruit, triumphed in a pitcher’s duel with Kinzie Byrd, an Anderson University recruit.
Byrd allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six.
Mollenkopf retired the first 11 batters before Pailei Cripe’s two-out bloop double in the fourth. She carried a one-hit shutout into the seventh before another bloop double to shallow center from Cripe. Kendra Sutton followed with an RBI single to cut the Caston lead to 3-1.
That brought the potential tying run to the plate, but Mollenkopf then got Natalie Packard on a pop-up to short and struck out Byrd to end the game.
Mollenkopf credited the pitch calling skills of catcher Kylee Logan afterwards. Assistant coach Greg Zimpleman calls the game “most of the time,” according to Mollenkopf, but he will include input from Mollenkopf and Logan in his decisions, and Mollenkopf said that Logan does a good job of communicating with coach Zimpleman.
“Curve ball and rise ball,” Mollenkopf answered when asked what pitches were working. “They were reaching out for the curve ball, so we could kind of slide it by them. Kylee did a really good job of calling some good pitches tonight.”
Byrd recorded five strikeouts in the first two innings, but Caston also scored a run in each of those innings.
In the first, Isabel Scales, the only Caston player to finish with a multi-hit game, singled, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Mollenkopf’s hit put Caston ahead for good.
Harsh led off the second with a homer to make it 2-0, and it came with two strikes in the count, just creeping over the wall down the left field line.
“That’s what we always stress is be aggressive in the box,” Caston coach Jon Burks said. “When she came back around after that, she goes, ‘Burks, I knew she was coming inside, so I moved back.’ She made an adjustment. There you go. And even though it was two strikes, she put the ball in play and let the bat and ball work. … 205 feet, so thank you very much. Have a good day.”
Meanwhile, Mollenkopf’s pitches evaded Lady Berry bats. Of those first 11 outs, seven of them were strikeouts, and only two of them were fly balls to the outfield.
“All of them were pretty good and working real well,” Burks said. “She had good spin on her ball. She was hitting her spots. She missed a few, but in all honesty, overall, an outstanding job tonight.”
After Logan threw out Byrd trying to steal third for the third out in the top of the fifth, Zimpleman crunched a homer to lead off the bottom half and extend the lead to three.
The win avenged a 6-5 loss to the Lady Berries last year in which Logansport walked it off in the bottom of the seventh after surrendering a 5-0 lead.
“We just worked off last year and what we knew about them and how they improved and did some research behind this game,” Mollenkopf said. “I say research, but it’s more of like we watched past games they played and stuff like that.”
Caston 3, Logansport 1
Logansport 000 000 1 – 1 3 1
Caston 110 010 X – 3 6 0
WP – Kinzie Mollenkopf (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)
LP – Kinzie Byrd (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)
2B – Pailei Cripe 2 (LOG)
HR – Annie Harsh (CAS), Addison Zimpleman (CAS)