Battling rain and wet fields, the 16th Annual Tuscola Invite softball tournament didn’t go off as planned. But with a little help from a diligent field crew they were able to get the best of Mother Nature for the first time this spring turning the invite into a round robin.
Claire Ring led the way with a grand slam in a 11-1 win over Oakwood in game one, then Isabelle Shelmadine and Alexis Koester did more damage in a 9-3 victory over a good Sesser-Valier Waltonville squad.
Against Oakwood, Tuscola manufactured runs in the first and second frames to build a 3-1 lead. Shelmadine doubled to open the first, moved to third on a sac bunt by Kendyl Ring, and scored on a wild pitch to break the ice. Tuscola took advantage of an error, a walk, and a sac bunt by Allison Clark to push a pair across on a double by Ashtyn Clark in the second to moving in front by two.
It was all but over in the third when Tuscola put a big crooked number on the board thanks to the fireworks set off by Ring. Koester doubled to start the onslaught, moved on a single to left by Jackie Watson who moved to second on a bunt by Ashton Smith, setting the table for Ring’s grand slam. Shelmadine pushed two more across in the frame with a double and scored on a ground ball by Koester. Tuscola ended the scoring in the bottom of the fourth on a single by J. Watson and a RBI single by Ring giving her a career best five RBIs in the game. Kaitlyn Reifsteck earned the win scattering two hits and three walks out over five innings of work, allowing one to cross the plate while striking out four.
It was more of the same in the Waltonville game as the Warriors went to work early. Shelmadine singled, stole second and third, and scored on a single by Koester. They added to their tally in the second thanks to a base hit by C. Ring, a sac bunt by Reifsteck, and a ground ball to the right side by Ashtyn Clark. A sac bunt by Koester in the third helped push another across, and in the fourth a double by Reifsteck and RBI singles by Ashtyn Clark and Shelmadine added two more to the Warrior tally making it 6-2 Tuscola after five.
Shelmadine, who was 3 for 4 in the game, and Koester put a cherry on top of the victory with a pair of round trippers in the sixth to all but end the suspense. Smith added one to the win column on the hill giving up three runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out five in seven innings of work.