Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski

Charleston’s defense committed five errors while St. Anthony’s Lucy Fearday scattered seven hits as the Bulldogs came away with a 9-2 victory at Ne Co Field on Wednesday afternoon.

Charleston moves to 5-1 on the season, and St. Anthony goes to 9-1.

St. Anthony’s Cameran Rios opened the game with a double to left field and, three batters later, scored on an error by Trojans catcher Erin Blair to make it 1-0. It would be the first of five Charleston errors on the day that would yield five unearned runs.  

The Bulldogs tacked on four more in the third. St. Anthony starting pitcher Lucy Fearday helped her cause by singling to left that drove in Cameran Rios, putting St. Anthony ahead 2-0. Sydney Kibler got on base due to a fielding error by second baseman Macy Mayhall, loading the bases with Hailey Niebrugge on third and pinch runner Nora Gannaway on second. Stacey Vonderheide belted a shot to shortstop Addison Shrader who bobbled the ball, scoring Niebrugge.

Anna Faber sidestepped a wild pitch from Moore that scored Gannaway, giving the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead. Faber singled on the ensuing pitch, driving in Kibler adding another to the Bulldogs’ tally.

Moore doubled to left in the bottom of the fourth inning, prompting a courtesy runner of Lilly Zerbst. Fearday threw a wild pitch to Kailyn Wilson, which allowed Zerbst to advance to third. Wilson hit a sacrifice fly to right field and Zerbst trotted in to cut the St. Anthony lead to 5-1.

St. Anthony scored another four runs in the fifth extending their lead to 9-1. Charleston added another run with a run-scoring single from Emily Davis.

“I think they just came out ready to play,” St. Anthony coach Makayla Walsh Taylor said. “We’re just staying calm, cool, and collected. I think that’s been our motto these past ten games. I think that’s where we’re at right now. I don’t think they’re getting worked up over games and staying cool.”

St. Anthony’s Nora Gannaway scores ahead of Charleston catcher Erin Blair’s throw back to Karah Moore Wednesday afternoon at Ne Co Field in Charleston.

Charleston coach Blaine Mayhall, meanwhile, is concerned with his squad’s inconsistent hitting.

“We’re not consistent whatsoever,” he said. “We have to put it up and down the lineup. Right now, we have one or two girls that look pretty good. In a game, we have to have six or seven of them. It’s early and we’ll fix that. They know how to hit. They’re in just their heads right now. If they get out of their own heads, we’ll be fine. We didn’t come to play defensively today.”

Charleston and St. Anthony faced off last year at Bulldog Field where the Trojans came from behind in the top of the seventh inning, winning 4-2 after Reagan McGahey tripled in two runs.

One difference between the two games:  St. Anthony didn’t graduate any players, while Charleston graduated three seniors crucial to its offense in McGahey, Ashlynn McPeak and Ava Stephens.

Mayhall said he’s looking for players to step into the leadership roles his three seniors held last season.

“It’s nice to have senior leadership last year,” he said. “Especially the three that we had. They were very talented and started since they were young. We don’t have a senior on the roster. That showed a bit today. If other people notice it, then that’s the thing. It’s probably true. They have to learn how to be leaders themselves. They’re getting there. I’m not too worried about it. That(St. Anthony) is a very good team. We’re not going to cry about getting beat by a very good team. Because they are. It’s a not a team that we have to worry about with our goals moving forward in the postseason. They aren’t a team we’ll see again. At the end of the day it just means one in the loss column.”

Walsh Taylor said she looks forward to playing quality teams such as Charleston.

“I love playing squads like Charleston,” she said.  “We haven’t had a good win against them in a long time – maybe when I was in high school (at St. Anthony). That’s a solid win against a solid school. I love playing competition like this because it only makes us better, too.”

“Today, obviously she (Moore) left a couple pitches hanging and absolutely (I) want them to hit it,” She said. “Once you get up against good pitching, I want them to work the count a little and make the pitcher work a little bit more. I liked their aggressiveness. I can’t ask for anything better right now.”