By Chet Piotrowski
Charleston erupted for three runs in the top of the seventh in defeating the Bulldogs, 4-2, at St. Anthony Monday evening
“We’ve done that a couple games this year,” Charleston coach Blain Mayhall said. “I probably freak out a little bit more than they do. They seem to be pretty composed, and keep their cool and stay loose. That works for them, but it doesn’t work for me. I try to not let them know.”
Reagan McGahey, who was 2-for-3 while driving in two runs and scoring one, singled off the Bulldog’ Lucy Feaday to right field to score Ashlynn McPeak and Kaitlyn Wilson and give the Trojans a 3-2 lead.
McPeak, who was 2-4 and drove in the other 2 runs, singled and advanced to third after St. Anthony’s Haley Niebrugge took Wilson’s bunt and overthrew first baseman Maddie Kibler.
Ava Stephens singled on a pop fly to left field, but a Bulldog error allowed McGahey to score, increasing the Trojan lead to 4-2.
“I knew if Ashlynn got on we’d have a good chance,” Mayhall said. “To move her, we were going to have Kaitlyn bunt no matter what. She laid down a nice bunt and it worked out.”
Charleston started the scoring in the first inning with McGahey driving in McPeak after she singled and stole second base.
St. Anthony responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Cameron Rios bunted, and stole second. Trojans pitcher Karah Moore walked Addie Wernsing. Rios advanced to third on a Maddie Kibler flyout to center. Wernsing stole second, and Rios stole home, equalizing the score at 1.
Niebrugge doubled to left field driving in Wernsing to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead until the seventh.
“I don’t think she (Moore) was moving the ball,” Mayhall said. “She was leaving pitches over the plate a little bit more. She even said ‘I left those over the plate’. Once she gets relaxed and in a groove, she’s pretty effective and keeps people off balance.”
In the win, Moore allowed two earned runs with three walks and six strikeouts.”
The Trojans challenged Fearday but couldn’t get anything started, until the veteran-esque heroics in the seventh.
“We’re a young team and coming back from a deficit – that’s something you like to see,” said Mayhall said who is starting three seniors, six sophomores and one freshman.
“We don’t really talk about it. They’ve all played high level softball in the summer and was a good group in middle school,” he said. “I don’t really worry about them. They know how to play the game. They can do the things that need to be done.”
St. Anthony head coach Makayla Walsh said her squad got complacent and didn’t execute the small plays”.
“I think overall I really believe we became very complacent” Walsh said. “We started off strong scoring two in the first, but it was just there. We got complacent and happy with it being 2-1. Executing the small plays in that situation – the fly ball, the bunt – we should have executed that.”
Walsh, who officially took the reins of the coaching staff last season prior to the COVID cancellation, said she has a bond with many of her players even though this is her first season of varsity coaching.
“Lot of these girls, I’m five or six years older than them. It’s one of those things where they looked up to me when they were in junior high and they saw one of those things where ‘She played college ball and she’s coming back to help the program’,” she said. “A lot of these girls as freshmen, I coached them in eighth grade. I already have a bond with these girls.”
Walsh praised Fearday, who gave up four runs with two being earned on one walk and six strikeouts.
“Lucy did a phenomenal job today, Walsh said. “It’s just handling those situations where you have runners in certain situations and executing those plays – but Lucy did really well. I can’t complain. Having very little walks is something every coach dreams. I’m happy with how she pitched.”
Charleston hosts Terre Haute North on Tuesday, while St. Anthony hosts Robinson in a doubleheader.