Ashton Smith hurled a six-hit shutout gem Wednesday, April 25, helping Tuscola’s softball to a 7-0 non-conference victory over Neoga. Smith issued no free passes and scattered the six hits out over seven innings of action while striking out four. Allison Clark was the catalyst for the offense. The junior first baseman got the ball rolling putting a crooked number on the board in the second frame with a two-run blast over the left center field fence to put Tuscola on top by two 2-0.
Setting the table for Clark was shortstop Alexis Koester who battled a seven-pitch walk, stole second, and scored on the dinger. Kendyl Ring reached three times in the game, with two hits and a fielder’s choice but scored just once despite stealing three bases. The freshman found her way to third in both the first and third stanzas but that’s as far as she would get.
Tuscola blew it open in the fifth scoring five runs on three hits and three walks. Smith helped her own cause starting the onslaught with a single to left. She then gave way to Kyra Moyer on the bases who stole second, moved on a fielder’s choice by Ring and scored on a three-RBI double by Jackie Watson. Watson pushed both Ring and Isabelle Shelmadine, as well, who reached on a walk. Claire Ring followed with an RBI single that scored Watson for the fourth run of the frame. Ring advanced on a catcher’s indifference and scored on sac fly by Ashtyn Clark.
Smith set the Lady Indians down in order in the fifth and sixth then induced a pair of fly balls to short in to work out of a jam in the seventh to secure the win. Kendyl Ring went 2 for 4 in the game, while Watson and Allison Clark each drove in a pair.
Lady Warriors avenge loss
Tuscola’s softball team returned the favor beating a good Central A&M squad on their home field bouncing back from a home loss the Lady Warriors suffered to the Lady Raiders earlier in the year. Kaitlyn Reifsteck was solid in the circle working all seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits in a 7-3 Central Illinois Conference victory.
The freshman hurler struck out nine in the game and leaned on senior second baseman Isabelle Shelmadine who accounted for three hits, including a homerun and five putouts in the game on defense. She went 3 for 4 in the game with three RBIs and three stolen bases.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, May 2 edition of The Tuscola Journal.