Photos and story by Chet Piotrowski Jr.

Charleston erupted for eight runs, breaking a 1-1 tie against the Hearts in the fifth inning of their second game to salvage a split against Effingham on Friday evening.

Charleston moves to 16-4 (6-2 Apollo) and Effingham goes to 9-9 (5-5 Apollo).

Charleston’s Karah Moore, who took the loss in the first game, ripped a triple to left to drive in Addison Shrader and Mikayla Lane that gave Charleston a 3-1 lead. Erin Blair earned a bases-loaded walking Blair Ritchey was hit by a 3-2 pitch, making it 5-1.

“It got the ball rolling … literally,” Charleston catcher Erin Blair said. “Once it started, we couldn’t stop it. We knew we needed to win that game. Coach challenged us to hit the ball and Karah just lit the fuse.” 

Despite a Hearts’ pitching change, Charleston tacked on three more runs ending the fifth inning ahead 8-1. Effingham tried to make a comeback scoring one in the sixth and two in the seventh, but the rally fell short as Mikayla Lane came in for the last two outs to finish the game.

“We started to started seeing more pitches each at bat until we saw the pitch we wanted,
Blair said. “Once we all started doing that the louder we got and the morale in the dugout is always awesome.”

Trojans starter Kailyn Wilson scattered 10 hits allowing four runs on two walks with one strikeout earning the win, nullifying the potent Hearts offense Charleston had seen in the first game.

Despite outhitting Effingham 10-8 in the first game, the Trojans could only manage one run against Hearts pitcher Saige Althoff who struck out five and walked none. 

The opposite was true for Charleston’s Karah Moore, who allowed seven runs on eight hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

“I think we played well,” Blair said. “Our bats weren’t quite awake but we started to string together some much needed hits in the second game. It was really a confidence booster for us all.”