It only took one inning for the Sturgeon Bulldogs baseball and softball teams to come away with wins Tuesday night in CAC action at Pilot Grove.
Unfortunately for the Pilot Grove Tigers baseball team, they were up 2-1 going into the top half of the seventh before giving up six runs to suffer a 7-2 loss. Meanwhile, for the Lady Tigers, they were playing perhaps their best softball of the season tied with Sturgeon at 4-4 after three before surrendering a 10-run fourth inning in a 15-6 defeat.
Despite the loss for the Lady Tigers, which dropped them to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the CAC, head coach George Monk said once again the club continues to improve each time they get to play.
"Our awareness of the game is improving as we get an opportunity to experience game speed situations," Monk said. "With only nine players it’s hard to simulate real game situations in practice, so we are learning as we play games. Our offense was the highlight for us in this game. We were able to score more runs and get more hits than we have in all the other games combined. Marci (Lammers)and Kaitlyn (Maggard) really had some quality at bats. Each of them really crushed the ball tonight.
"Kaitlyn was a home run short of the cycle. Ava Hoff contributed nicely and had her best game offensively. Grace (Phillips) took some of the best swings she has taken this season. Marci (Lammers)also had her best game in the circle. She has reduced her walks and increased her strikeouts. We really played a good offensive game. We had several miscues in the field that can be expected as this is only the second game for some players in their new positions. After a few games and a couple of practices, those miscues will be reduced."
The Lady Tigers definitely get an "A" for trying. Although the Lady Bulldogs wound up winning by nine runs, Pilot Grove was right there in hits 10-9 and actually led Sturgeon at one point 4-3 after two.
But even then it was close. After Sturgeon plated two runs in the top half of the first, Pilot Grove answered with three in its half of the inning on a RBI triple to right center by Kaitlyn Maggard. The Lady Tigers also scored one run on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2-all and then took a 3-2 lead on a steal home.
Both teams then put up one run in the second. Sturgeon scored its run on a wild pitch to tie the game at 3-all while Pilot Grove added a run to go up 4-3 on a infield single by Maggard.
The Lady Tigers never led again in the ballgame as Sturgeon tacked on another run in the third to tie the game at 4-4 and then exploded for 10 runs in the fourth by sending 13 batters to the plate to go up 14-4.
Pilot Grove didn’t give up, though. In the bottom of the fourth, the Lady Tigers plated two more runs on a two-RBI double to left by Maggard to make it 14-6. But that was all Pilot Grove could come up with as Sturgeon added another run in the fifth to seal the victory.
Nicole Vanlandingham picked up the complete-game victory for Sturgeon while Marci Lammers took the loss for Pilot Grove. Vanlandingham struck out eight batters and gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks. Lammers, meanwhile, pitched all seven innings for the Lady Tigers and allowed 15 runs on 10 hits and seven walks while striking out nine.
Taylor Harris and Cade McMorris also had three hits each in the game for Sturgeon while Nicole Allen added two hits. Harris also drove in four runs while McMorris, Grace Thomas and Katelyn Martin each had two RBIs.
For Pilot Grove, Maggard went 3-for-4 with one single, one double, one triple and three RBIs. Marci Lammers also added three hits, one of which went for a triple, while Ava Hoff had two singles and Grace Phillips with one single.
As for the Pilot Grove Tigers baseball team, they struck first against Sturgeon with two runs in the bottom half of the third on a two-RBI triple to center by senior Bailey Quint.
But that was it for the Tigers as Sturgeon rallied back with one run in the top half of the sixth and six again in the seventh for the victory.
The loss dropped Pilot Grove to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the CAC.
Pilot Grove coach Joe Vossler said Sturgeon tested their defense early and the boys responded well.
"We strung a few baserunners together for the middle of our lineup, but could only get two runs," Vossler said. "Unfortunately we couldn't make those two runs stand up; their bats really came to life against our bullpen. We started to rally in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't push another run across."
Jacob Brooks picked up the win in relief for Sturgeon while Dade Christy took the loss for Pilot Grove. Ben Doss pitched the first-five innings for the Bulldogs but then was relieved by Brooks, who pitched two innings and gave up just two walks while striking out two batters. For Pilot Grove, Quint pitched the first-five innings and struck out 12 batters while giving up just one hit and four walks. Christy then came in and pitched two innings in relief and issued seven runs on four hits and three walks while striking out three batters.
Sturgeon also out-hit Pilot Grove 5-3, with Doss going 2-for-3 with one RBI. Marshall Smith doubled and drove in one run while Skyler Smith added one single and two RBIs and Trenton Bolles with one single and one RBI.
For Pilot Grove, Quint went 2-for-3 with a single, triple and two RBIs while Christy had the only other hit with a single.