• Val T.

Zimpleman, Mollenkopf star in circle as Caston sweeps Peru

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

FULTON –- Who is the No. 1 pitcher on the Caston softball team? Is it Addison Zimpleman or Kinzie Mollenkopf?

After Saturday’s doubleheader against Peru, the answer might be “all of the above.”

The Lady Comets beat Peru twice at home to improve to 7-1 thanks to the work in the circle from Zimpleman, a freshman, and Mollenkopf, a sophomore.

Caston won the first game 5-0 and the second game 12-2 in six innings.

In 13 combined innings of pitching, the only runs that the Lady Comets allowed were unearned on a dropped fly ball in the fourth inning of Game 2.

Zimpleman pitched a two-hit shutout with no walks and seven strikeouts in Game 1. Mollenkopf pitched a four-hitter with one walk and seven strikeouts in Game 2.

“They were hitting their spots, and basically, like I say, if we clean up those errors, we’re doing a lot better off,” Caston first-year coach Jon Burks said. “But the pitching was outstanding today. They were in control and showed it through the whole game.”

Game 1: Caston 5, Peru 0

Zimpleman also had a walk, a double and a single in three plate trips as well as two RBIs and two runs scored.

Freshman battery mate Isabel Scales, who hits behind Zimpleman in the order, added a single, a double and three RBIs.

Still, Peru pitcher Graycee Ansari had a shutout going through three innings. Mollenkopf singled to start a two-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.

“It started off a little slow, so I decided, hey, we’re going to have to start doing something to get things rolling, so we went with the small ball, and it paid off and it got us off the schneid there, and we started rolling there,” Burks said.

Scales hitting behind Zimpleman in the order prevents opponents from Zimpleman from getting pitched around, according to Burks.

“Isabel’s a beast, and knowing that she’s a threat behind me… oh, you don’t want to mess with her,” Zimpleman quipped afterwards.

Game 2: Caston 12, Peru 2 (6 innings)

In addition to her pitching, Mollenkopf also went 3 for 4 at the plate in Game 2.

She singled and scored ahead of Scales’ RBI double down the left field line in the first.

Then she tripled to deep right field in the third, which scored Macee Hinderlider, who had singled and advanced to second on Maddi Smith’s sacrifice bunt.

That brought up Zimpleman, who sent a fly ball to deep right-center. Peru center fielder Haven Wolfe appeared to track it but ran out of room – a two-run homer to make it 4-0.

“I thought the wind kinda helped me a little bit,” Zimpleman said. “I didn’t think it was going to be over, to be honest. But you just know that instant when you hit one over. It’s just the feeling coming off the bat, and I was like, ‘OK, here we go, so ready.’”

Peru got their runs in the fourth. Mollenkopf’s only walk preceded the dropped fly ball that scored two runs.

In the fifth, Haven Wolfe and Graycee Ansari had back-to-back bloop singles with two outs. That brought up Peru No. 3 hitter Emily Ream representing the go-ahead run.

But Mollenkopf jammed her and made a running grab on a pop-up to retire the side.

Caston then got six insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Scales started the rally with an RBI single after a Maddi Smith single and stolen base and a Zimpleman walk. Then Deming’s hard grounder through the right side turned into a two=run single. Annie Harsh grounded into a forceout but then advanced all the way to third on Alexa Finke’s bunt single.

Layne Oliver then smoked a double to deep left center to bring home Harsh and Finke and make it 9-2. Oliver advanced to third on the throw home to try and get Finke, and she scored on Macee Hinderlider’s RBI bloop single.

The game ended in the bottom of the sixth on Harsh’s RBI single which scored Raven Ernie and a throwing error on the same play that allowed a head-first sliding Deming to score.

The next step in Caston’s development as a team is defense. He felt defense was the decisive factor in a 5-4 road loss to North Miami five days earlier. That was a noteworthy loss as Caston might play North Miami again in the sectional, which will be held at North Miami.

“Can’t make mistakes,” Burks said. “Two errors cost us, you know what I’m saying? Two errors cost us three runs there. An error cost us two runs here. Bottom line, we’ve got maybe if I’m not mistaken five errors in eight games… and we had four straight where we weren’t committing an error until the North Miami game, and we committed two right there, and if we clean up that part of the game, we’ll be alright.

“We’ll definitely be alright. Because we’ll hang with anybody as far as offensive-wise. But that defense, I’m still working with the outfield trying to find a mix out there.”

Caston notes

  • Caston is ranked No. 7 in this week’s Class 1A coaches poll. Of the six teams in Sectional 52, four of them received poll recognition this week. West Central is No. 6, North Miami is No. 10, and Northfield is No. 13. Caston’s lone loss was to North Miami on April 12. Caston hosts Northfield at 5 p.m. Thursday.

  • Senior left fielder Rebekah Milburn was removed from Game 2 with what Burks called a “sore arm.”

Game 1: Caston 5, Peru 0

Peru 000 000 0 – 0 2 0

Caston 000 230 X – 5 8 3

WP – Addison Zimpleman (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

LP – Ansari

2B – Martin (PERU), Addison Zimpleman (CAS), Isabel Scales (CAS)

Game 2: Caston 12, Peru 2 (6 innings)

Peru 000 200 – 2 4 2

Caston 103 062 – 12 14 2

WP – Kinzie Mollenkopf (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

LP – Karsynn Beattie

2B – Isabel Scales (CAS), Layne Oliver (CAS)

3B – Kinzie Mollenkopf (CAS)

HR – Addison Zimpleman (CAS)


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