By Leonard Sementi
Ashton Smith usually is mentioned because of her efforts on the pitching mound, and we will get to that soon but this time her donation to a Lady Warrior softball win was with her bat. The junior ignited a five-run rally in the second frame with a lead off double on the first pitch of the inning that ultimately secured the win for the girls in black and gold.
Smith was one of three Warriors to add a two bagger to their season stat sheets. Ashtyn Clark and Jackie Watson doubled as well in the game as the Warriors came back from a four-run deficit to defeat the Clinton Maroons opening the Central Illinois Conference with a victory. Clark was 2 for 3 on the day to lead the Warriors on offense. Sydney Watson and Abbey Jacob also reached safely in the game.
Collecting the win on the hill for Tuscola was Kaitlyn Reifsteck. The freshman battled through the first two frames then settled in giving up four runs on five hits and five walks in six and a third innings while fanning seven. Smith was credited with the save facing two batters in the top of the seventh to seal the deal.
Clinton came out swinging putting two on the board in the top of the first on a pair of hits then added two more in the second on a deep double to center taking an early four-run lead. Enter Smith and the lead off double in the bottom of the stanza. The junior drove it deep to left setting the table for a run scoring double by J. Watson who in turn scored on a single by sister Sydney. Clark reached on a fielder’s choice, moved on an RBI single by Jacob, and scored on an errant throw that pushed two across putting the Warriors in front for good.
Reifsteck hit her stride on the hill striking out the side in the third while retiring the 13 straight before giving way to Smith in the seventh. The third-year player entered with one and shut the door on the win inducing a ground ball out and then fanned the two-hole batter on three pitches to end the game.