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  • Val T.

Stiles’ slam, Moriarty’s 3-run homer lead Valley softball past Rochester

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

AKRON — Corinna Stiles hit a grand slam as part of a six-run third inning, and she also worked five innings for the win in the circle as the Tippecanoe Valley softball team defeated Rochester 13-7 on April 25.

Molly Moriarty also walked three times and hit a three-run homer as Valley defeated Rochester for the second straight year. Historical records are sketchy for softball, but it is believed to be the first time in at least 15 years that Valley has beaten Rochester in two straight years. Valley also eliminated Rochester from the 2021 Class 2A sectional.

Valley is 9-2 overall and 2-0 in the Three Rivers Conference. They have scored in double figures eight times in 11 games.

“It’s all them,” Valley coach Brittany Mathias said. “They just don’t give up, and I think the resilience of this team speaks for itself. Even if we get down, we still fight back. Or there have been a couple of games where we’ve been down, and we would score enough runs to get back ahead, so they just know what their job is, and they just don’t give up. I think encouragement and just staying in it is super important.”

Emma Howdeshell had two singles, a double and an RBI, and Kylie Coleman singled, tripled and drove in a run for Rochester, who fell to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the TRC.

Sydney Haughs also had two hits and an RBI, and Darah Strasser singled, walked twice and scored twice.

Rochester trailed 8-0 after four innings but scored five runs in the fifth on Kallie Watson’s RBI single, a wild pitch that scored Emma Sells from third, an RBI double from Howdeshell, an RBI triple from Coleman and an RBI single from Haughs.

Sells’ RBI grounder to shortstop in the sixth made it 8-6.

Valley responded with five more runs in the bottom half.

Brayden Baney singled, and Abby Bowers and Sydney Rhamey walked to load the bases with nobody out. Sells relieved Mia Howdeshell in the circle.

The first batter she faced was Brittany Benn, who hit a grounder to third, but the throw home for an attempted force was wild for an error to score Baney.

Macy Kirchenstien grounded to Sells, who threw home for a forceout, but the throw back to first for a try at a double play was wild for an error that allowed Rhamey to score.

Moriarty then lofted a Sells pitch over the wall to straightaway center to make it 13-6. Moriarty was asked if she has surprised herself with her five home runs on the season.

“Yes, because of my swing, I don’t swing all the way through,” Moriarty said. “So I definitely have to put a lot of power behind my swing. … I kinda golf it.”

Rochester coach Becky Lee complimented her right-handed hitters like Watson, Emma Howdeshell and Coleman for hitting to the opposite field, a common theme during practice. But Lady Z pitchers walked 12, and eight of the walks came around to score.

“It’s huge,” Lee said. “I think we actually gave them 13 free bases between walks and hit-by-pitches, so that’s a huge momentum change for them, and just obviously, getting people on base and getting the timely hits … They may have only had eight, but if they had the hits when people were on, that’s a huge difference.”

Moriarty walked and later scored on a wild pitch in the first.

Three straight walks and Madi Smith’s RBI single in the second made it 2-0.

Benn and Mercedes Snapp had back-to-back RBI singles in the third to make it 4-0 off reliever Mia Howdeshell. Moriarty walked to load the bases, but Mia Howdeshell got Smith on a pop to second for the second out.

But Stiles wouldn’t let her off the hook, crushing a grand slam to center to extend the lead to 8-0.

Valley 13, Rochester 7

Rochester 000 051 1 – 7 9 3

Valley 116 005 X – 13 8 2

WP – Corinna Stiles (5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 6 K)

LP – Darah Strasser (1 ⅓ IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K)

2B – Emma Howdeshell (RHS)

3B – Kylie Coleman (RHS)

HR – Molly Moriarty (TV), Corinna Stiles (TV)


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