Make it nine straight victories for the Union softball Lady ’Cats.
The winning streak continued for Union (11-3, 4-0) with Four Rivers Conference home wins Tuesday over St. Clair 10-2 and Thursday over Owensville, 9-0.
Union held the lead throughout the game in the win over St. Clair (3-10, 1-2).
“I thought that we finally hit the ball hard toward the end of the game,” Union Head Coach Bill Juengel said. “We got some good pitching and the defense played well.”
Union had 11 hits in the win and were able to capitalize on defensive errors by the Lady Bulldogs to improve to 3-0 in FRC games. St. Clair drops to 1-2 in FRC action.
“We are still learning to piece everything together and now that we have reached the halfway point, we hopefully will start putting things together,” St. Clair Head Coach Rob Hauck said. “It is tough right now because we do not get a lot of practice time to work on our issues and we just have to go through the game process and improve as we see situations. Our girls are smart and tough and we will get better as we head down the stretch to end the season.”
The Lady ’Cats also had a strong outing from Sheena Carroll, who pitched the complete game for the win.
She allowed two earned runs on four hits in her seven innings of work. She threw five strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter.
“What she needs to do is, sometimes she lets the ball get up a little bit, but if she keeps the ball down she’s a whole lot better,” Juengel said. “Her strength also is that she doesn’t walk anybody. I mean she gives up very few walks and that’s a good thing for us.”
The Lady ’Cats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Jordan Thorpe hit a sacrifice fly to score Kayla Kelly and a sacrifice bunt from Sam Wickes scored Jerica Reeser.
After Courtney Zweifel was walked and stole second, Shelby Miller hit a double to center field to score Zweifel.
Zweifel and Miller added to Union’s lead in the fourth. Zweifel hit a two-out double to center and was driven in by Miller’s single to center to make it 4-1.
Megan Altemueller hit a single to left center. She stole second and advanced to third when the ball was thrown into the outfield. Kelly flied out to center to score Altemueller.
Union scored five runs in the sixth. Zweifel bunted with runners on and a throwing error to first allowed her to advance to third, driving in two.
A single by Kirsten Dierberg scored Zweifel. St. Clair robbed Altemueller of an extra base hit with a catch in left-center field. The Lady Bulldogs gave up two more hits and a sacrifice fly to allow Union to make it 10-1.
Zweifel was 3-3 with two doubles and a stolen base. Miller was 2-4 with a double and an RBI.
Kelly had two hits, including a double, drove in three runs and had a stolen base. Wickes had a hit and an RBI. Reeser drew one walk.
Altemueller had a hit, a walk, a stolen base and scored.
Dierberg had a hit, a walk, one RBI and scored. Thorpe had an RBI, was walked and scored. Tara Nolkemper had a single and scored. Hannah Nowak had a stolen base. Reeser drew one walk and scored.
Karissa Hoffman got St. Clair on the board in the third. With runners on second and third, Hoffman hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Stephanie Stradford. Stradford also had a hit in the loss.
Brittany Rogers hit a two-out double in the top of the seventh inning to score Sarah Hinson who had reached base after being hit by a pitch. Rogers recorded the final out of the game when she was tagged out in a rundown between second and third. Hinson also had a double.
“One of the problems we’ve got right now is just our swings are kind of out of whack,” Hauck said. “We know we’re better hitters than what we are, but we just haven’t been able to put good contact on the ball the way we should and we had a couple opportunities and we ran into some poor baserunning decisions that cost us a little bit of an advantage.
“Experience came back to bite us a little bit toward the end, just young girls made some mistakes for us and they were able to capitalize,” Hauck said. “Our pitching struggles at times and that was another thing that they just kind of gained the advantage on.”
Tori Martin pitched for the Lady Bulldogs, allowing four earned runs on seven hits. She walked five batters and struck out two.
Union’s seven-run fourth inning proved to be the difference Thursday in a 9-0 FRC win over Owensville.
The Lady ’Cats also scored twice in the fifth to make it 9-0.
Janna Ruether went the distance in the circle, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Dierberg led the way with two hits, one run and three RBIs.
Miller doubled, walked, scored and drove in two runs.
Kelly had Union’s other hit, a single.
Union took advantage of 11 walks. Wickes and Zweifel each walked twice, scored twice and drove in one run. Altemueller also walked twice.
Reeser and Ruether each walked once and scored once.
St. Clair’s Thursday FRC game at St. James was rained out and rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 25.