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  • Val T.

Rochester, Pioneer go 1-1 at 3-way doubleheader

Lady Zs beat Lady Panthers, fall to Carroll; Lady Panthers bounce back vs. Carroll


Sports Editor, RTC

ROYAL CENTER — The Rochester softball team had been undefeated until it played Carroll (Flora) as part of a three-way doubleheader at Pioneer Saturday.

The Pioneer softball team had been winless until it played Carroll as part of the same doubleheader.

It seemingly was a turning point for every team at Herk Hoffman Field at Rea Park. All three teams went 1-1.

The day started with Rochester beating Pioneer 15-1 in six innings. Then Carroll topped Rochester 9-8. Pioneer then took down Carroll 14-4 in five innings.

Rochester 15, Pioneer 1 (6 innings)

Rochester was leading 1-0, and Mia Howdeshell was nursing a shutout when Casey Webb lofted a fly ball down the right field line with the bases loaded and two outs.

Rochester freshman Aubrey Miller ran down the fly at full speed to save the run, and the Lady Zs responded with seven runs in the fifth inning and seven more in the sixth.

Kylie Coleman walked off Tiara Denny to lead off the fifth, and Sydney Haughs yanked a two-run homer to left.

Pioneer coach Gabby Thomas replaced Denny with Shaylee Goings, but Rochester got to her too.

Kallie Watson doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Maddie Heinzmann’s squeeze bunt.

Miller and Howdeshell followed with singles, and the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Mylee Heinzmann walked – it was one of her three walks for the game – to load the bases.

Darah Strasser drove home Miller with a groundout to second base to make it 5-0.

Emma Howdeshell then doubled to deep center, which scored Mia Howdeshell and Mylee Heinzmann on contact. Emma Howdeshell then advanced to third on one throwing error and scored when the throw to try and get her at third bounced off the chain link fence behind her for another error. It was 8-0.

Rochester’s seven-run sixth included an RBI infield single from Miller, an RBI groundout from Mia Howdeshell, an RBI double from Strasser that ticked off Kylie Attinger’s glove in left field, a two-run single from Emma Howdeshell and a two-run homer to straightaway center from Kylie Coleman.

“Syd’s home run allowed us to relax a little bit,” Rochester coach Jim Coleman said. “We came in tense. If you were here to see our warm-up before the game, it was definitely one that I’d like to forget. We came in a little tense and a little nervous, but Syd’s home run just relaxed the team, and we started to be the Zebra team that I’ve been seeing the last three or four weeks.”

But the turning point might have been Miller’s catch in right field.

“Scary, I was really nervous,” Miller said. “I wanted to make sure I caught it, so we were still winning. … I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever ran.”

Pioneer’s only run came in the bottom of the sixth on Kamryn Newby’s RBI groundout off Mia Howdeshell.

“Our biggest thing right now is figuring out and getting those timely hits,” Thomas said. “And you know what, it’s our third game of the season. If I’m talking to you and this is the 20th game of the season, I’m real concerned. It’s figuring out my team. I just got some new players that are figuring things out. It could go either way.”

Carroll (Flora) 9, Rochester 8

Olivia Stankard had a walk-off RBI infield single, and Rylie Lanum had two doubles, a single and five RBIs for Carroll as they handed Rochester their first loss.

The Lady Zs trailed 6-1 after three innings and still trailed 8-6 with two outs in the top of the seventh when they tied it.

Miller drove in one run with a line single to right, and when the charging right fielder tried to throw Miller out at first after short-hopping the ball, her throw was wild for an error, and Kallie Watson beat the throw home with a headfirst dive to tie the game at 8.

But in the bottom of the seventh, Carroll scored the winning run off Haughs, who was making her first pitching appearance since 2021.

Emma Payton led off with a walk, and Lily Jackson advanced her to second with a sacrifice bunt. Payton then moved to third on a passed ball.

Haughs then got Kayla Gish to ground back to her in the circle. Haughs looked Payton back to third before throwing Gish out at first.

That brought up Stankard, Carroll’s freshman catcher. She hit a grounder in the hole between short and third. Emma Howdeshell made a diving stop, but her throw to try and get Stankard at first was well late, and Payton scored the winning run.

Despite taking the loss, Coleman hailed Haughs’ pitching effort on short notice.

“When we came in for a short practice (Friday), we got Emma loose, and we did have Syd throw a little bit, but for Sydney Haughs to give us five innings in this sort of a game with really no notice was very impressive. Now Syd hasn’t thrown in a game since she was a sophomore, so for her to come in and pitch the innings and give us the opportunity to fight back was key.”

Emma Howdeshell started the game in the circle but left with an ankle injury. Mia Howdeshell, who had just finished a six-inning complete game against Pioneer minutes earlier, completed the first inning and finished the second.

Keyton Doran entered the game in left field, and Haughs moved from left field to third base.

Haughs then started the third inning in the circle, and Mia Howdeshell moved from pitcher to third base.

Doran took one at-bat in the third inning and struck out, and Emma Howdeshell re-entered at shortstop in the fourth.

At that point, Haughs was now in the circle, Mia Howdeshell was at second base, Kylie Coleman was at third base, and Mylee Heinzmann had moved from second base to left field.

When Mylee Heinzmann suffered a thumb injury on a headfirst slide in the sixth, Haley Durkes entered as a pinch-runner and stayed in the game in right field with Miller moving to left.

Rochester would score three times in the fourth to cut the deficit to 6-4. Miller drove home a run with a bunt single, and Maddie Heinzmann also scored on the play on a throwing error.

Miller then scored on Mia Howdeshell’s RBI single.

Lanum’s two-run single to left made it 8-4 in the bottom of the fourth, but Rochester got the two runs back in the bottom of the fifth.

After the speedy Strasser legged out an infield double on a pop-up flare that ticked off the glove off the Carroll third baseman, Emma Howdeshell reached on a bloop double with Strasser moving to third.

Coleman made it 8-5 with an RBI grounder to short, and Haughs crushed a ground-rule double to deep left that rolled underneath the fence to bring home Emma Howdeshell.

That set up the top of the seventh. Coleman reached on an error on the shortstop and stole second. Watson walked.

Carroll reliever Phantazia DeBoard struck out Maddie Heinzmann looking, and that brought up Miller, who had created a run by herself in the second when she walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild throw by the catcher into center field and scored when the ball was booted by the center fielder backing up the play.

“Our focus after that second inning was look away,” coach Coleman said of the adjustments against pitchers Payton and DeBoard. “Look away. If she comes inside, we’ll take that pitch, but look away and go with the ball. And we adjusted nicely. Even when she was replaced in the circle, we continued to adjust and forced them at least to come back and beat us.”

Lanum’s three-run double to right field in the first gave Carroll the early lead and knocked the ailing Emma Howdeshell from the game.

Carroll made it 6-1 in the second on Stankard’s RBI squeeze bunt, Emily Justice’s RBI grounder to short and Kaylin Randle’s solo homer.

“Defense, especially early, really let us down,” coach Coleman said. “And that was a key. We got behind early in that first inning, and we just chased them. I credit our team for fighting, but if you give anybody additional opportunities like we did in that first inning, and it’s tough to overcome those, and unfortunately for us in this game, we saw that.”

Pioneer 14, Carroll (Flora) 4 (5 innings)

After allowing 12 runs in relief in the loss to Rochester earlier in the day, Goings responded by pitching a nine-hitter with a walk, a hit batter and two strikeouts against Carroll.

Jocelynn Vincent had two hits and three RBIs, and Crystabelle Blickenstaff had two hits and two RBIs. Attinger had two hits and an RBI, and freshman third baseman Hollie Zellers had two hits.

Adeline Cripe and Emma Sells each had a hit and an RBI. Ava Beasy also had an RBI.

Pioneer scored three times in the bottom of the first and never trailed. They scored five runs in the third and three more in the fourth to make it 11-2.

Carroll scored twice in the top of the fifth before Pioneer ended it with three in the bottom of the fifth.

The Carroll pitching duo of DeBoard and Lanum combined to walk seven and hit a batter. Pioneer also had 10 stolen bases.

Rochester ended the day with a record of 3-1, Carroll ended the day 3-2, and Pioneer ended the day 1-3.

Game 1: Rochester 15, Pioneer 1 (6 innings)

Rochester 100 077 – 15 11 2

Pioneer 000 001 – 1 8 4

WP – Mia Howdeshell (6 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)

LP – Tiara Denny (4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 2 K)

2B – Emma Howdeshell (RHS), Kallie Watson (RHS), Darah Strasser (RHS)

HR – Sydney Haughs (RHS), Kylie Coleman (RHS)

Game 2: Carroll (Flora) 9, Rochester 8

Rochester 010 320 2 – 8 6 4

Carroll 330 200 1 – 9 11 7

WP – Phantazia DeBoard (2 ⅔ IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)

LP – Sydney Haughs (4 ⅔ IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

2B – Emma Howdeshell (RHS), Sydney Haughs (RHS), Darah Strasser (RHS), Olivia Stankard (CARR), Rylie Lanum 2 (CARR)

HR – Kaylin Randle (CARR)

Game 3: Pioneer 14, Carroll (Flora) 4 (5 innings)

Carroll 011 02 – 4 10 0

Pioneer 305 33 – 14 9 1

WP – Shaylee Goings (5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K)

LP – Phantazia DeBoard (2 ⅓ IP, 7 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)

2B – Kaylin Randle (CARR), Crystabelle Blickenstaff (PIO)

3B – Kaylin Randle (CARR), Jocelynn Vincent (PIO)

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