Watson, Haughs drive in 2 runs each; Coleman also has 2 hits
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WABASH –- Rochester senior pitcher Mya Musselman said she only knew “a little bit” about Northfield senior shortstop Addi Baker prior to Monday’s Three Rivers Conference softball game at Guenin Field.
It might have been a good thing that she didn’t know much.
A Southern Illinois recruit, Baker came in hitting .692 with 22 RBIs in 12 games from the leadoff spot in Northfield’s order. She also had nine multi-hit games.
But Musselman struck her out looking in the first inning. She slipped another called third strike past her again in the third.
The tone was set.
The Lady Zs scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning and went on to beat the Lady Norse 6-2.
Rochester improved to 6-10 overall and 2-4 in the TRC. RHS is 0-4 at home and 2-0 on the road in the conference.
“I think that we did a real good job of making adjustments at the plate,” Rochester first-year coach Becky Lee said. “I think early on in the game, we were a little ahead of ourselves, and we weren’t swinging at pitches that are ours. I think towards the end, we were really finding our pitches and hitting the early strike, and we made great adjustments.”
Kallie Watson and Sydney Haughs had two hits and two RBIs each, but the biggest hit might have come from Emma Goodman, whose RBI single broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. The hit scored Carlee Blackburn, who had singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
“Emma Goodman, the strides she has made this season has been incredible,” Lee said. “Watching her grow has been such an honor. I’m just so proud of her for being able to step in there without hesitation every single time and give it her all.”
Northfield did not get a baserunner to second against Musselman in the first six innings, but the first four Northfield hitters reached in the bottom of the seventh. Kyra Kennedy doubled, Abigail Hunter singled, and an error on a dropped throw on a ball hit by Kenzie Baer scored Kennedy to make it 6-
Addy Rosen then reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases.
At that point, all nine Rochester fielders – even the outfielders, but no coaches – met with Musselman in the circle for a brief meeting.
Whatever was said appeared to work. Musselman got Crysta Kowalczuk on a sacrifice fly to Haughs in center and retired Ella Hunter and Emily Pennington on grounders back to the circle.
Baker was left in the on-deck circle as the game ended.
“I heard a little bit about her,” Musselman said. “I didn’t know much about her. I was trusting what my coaches said and hoping that I would throw well against her, I guess.”
Watson, who has also seen time at third base and left field this season, started her third straight game at catcher. She threw out Kennedy trying to steal in the fourth and laced a two-run single up the middle in the fifth to score Emma Sells and Musselman to make it 3-0.
Coleman hit a grounder to Baker at shortstop during which Watson, who moved to second when the throw to try and get Musselman was late, was called for interference. By rule, Howdeshell was forced to return to third while Coleman was given first base.
Haughs then singled to score Howdeshell to cap the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Howdeshell singled and stole second before scoring when Coleman banged a double down the left field line. Haughs’ hot grounder down the third baseline was deflected but went for a hit to score Coleman.
Northfield got the leadoff hitter on in the third, fourth and fifth innings. In the fifth, Addy Rosen led off with a single. Kowalczuk then ripped a line drive that the diminutive second baseman Sells leaped up to catch before throwing to Blackburn at first to double off Rosen.
Sells also contributed a single in the fifth in which she fouled off several pitches from Hunter before lacing a single in the hole between third and short.
“She’s a pitcher’s worst nightmare,” a smiling Lee said of Sells.
Then Musselman got into and out of her only jam in the bottom half. Musselman has been on the varsity since her freshman year. She took pitching lessons from Abbie Overmyer, Lee’s sister, and saw time in the circle for the first time as a sophomore as the No. 2 pitcher behind Maci Brown.
“I didn’t think of myself as a pitcher before, but now, this season, I’m really getting there with my confidence, I guess,” Musselman said.
Lady Z notes
Rochester beat Southwood 12-2 in five innings on the road Friday to improve to 1-4 in the TRC. Musselman pitched a five-hitter with six strikeouts. Howdeshell had three hits. Maddie Heinzmann had three RBIs.
Rochester lost to Warsaw 9-3 Saturday morning. Haughs tripled and had two RBIs. Howdeshell, Watson and Musselman had two hits each.
Rochester 6, Northfield 2
Rochester 000 040 2 – 6 11 2
Northfield 000 000 2 – 2 5 1
WP – Mya Musselman (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)
LP – Abigail Hunter (7 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)
2B – Kylie Coleman (RHS), Kyra Kennedy (NF)
3B – Kallie Watson (RHS)