Ashton Smith found her way to the mound in all three of the Tuscola softball games this past week. The junior and her teammates marched on collecting wins in all three skirmishes upending a state-ranked Meridian squad 12-0 on Monday, outlasting a strong Warrensburg-Lathem team 6-5 in a slugfest on Tuesday, before ending the week with a solid 13-3 non conference victory over Westville on the road.
Smith, who started on the mound in both the Meridian and Westville games and entered in the Warrensburg affair, helped her own cause with four hits in the three-game swing and got some help from her friends and their bats. Senior Alexis Koester pounded out five hits on the week, three of which were of the long-ball variety that cleared the fence. She drove in seven runs and crossed the dish five times. Allison Clark was strong, as well, with six hits in all to her stat sheet, including five doubles and a round tripper donating five RBI’s and four runs scored to the cause. Isabelle Shelmadine and Kendyl Ring each checked in with five hits as well and combined for eight runs, six stolen bases, and seven RBI’s.
Meridian entered Ervin Park on Monday, April 30 at the head of the class in the Central Illinois Conference with one blemish on their league ledger–and three total on the year–but left it with two. In a battle of the two top squads in the CIC the Warriors accomplished what not many had expected scoring in all four frames of a run rule shortened five-inning victory
They pushed one across in the first thanks to the youngsters. Ring, a freshman, reached on a bunt, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double by her classmate Kaitlyn Reifsteck. They added another in the second courtesy of the Clark sisters. Ashtyn led off the frame with a single and gave way to Kyra Moyer on the bases, who in turn scored on a double down the left field line by Allison Clark making it 2-0 Warriors.
Tuscola put a deuce in the third thanks to a two-run bomb by Koester pushing across Reifsteck who battled her way on with an eight-pitch walk. She homered in her next at bat, as well, as the Warriors put it out of reach with eight runs in the fourth to make it 12-0 Warriors. The ladies in black in gold punched out eight hits in the big frame by seven different batters. Shelmadine reached safely both times up. Claire Ring drove in a pair with a double, while Koester punctuated it with a two-run blast. Smith worked all five innings facing four more than the minimum scattering four hits and a walk while striking out two collecting the win.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, May 9 edition of The Tuscola Journal.