By Steve Robinson | May 1, 2018 - 10:07 pm
Posted in Category: NCHS, Normal West HS, The Normalite

The visiting Iron scored in the first inning as pitcher Mackenzie Leonard was dodged by West pitching all day, being walked five appearances at the plate. With two out, she scored on a Jenna White single, giving NCHS a 1-0 lead and keeping two on base only to see the Iron’s own pitcher, Jessi Grove, become the third out in the opening inning.

The Lady Iron put two more on the board in the top of the third inning when shortstop Ashley Klinzing singled followed by center fielder Reese Johnson singling and West pitcher Bailey Turner getting walked for what was the second time in the contest at that time. Ella Fletcher’s base clearing single gave NCHS a 3-0 lead. A single by Fletcher in the fourth inning cleared the bases of Klinzing and Johnson a second time in the fourth inning, giving the Lady Iron a 5-0 lead midway through that inning.

A single by Bailey Turner advanced Jess Jacobs and allowed Mikayla Fairfield to cross the plate for West for the first time in the bottom of the fourth inning, cutting the Iron’s lead, 5-1. a double by Josi Grove aided by a single and advancing to second by Jacobs helped with that score. A single by Addi Boundy scored Grove who doubled earlier in the fifth inning, putting NCHS up, 6-1

But Jacobs gave Wildcats faithful in attendance a glimmer of hope blasting a bottom of the sixth inning first pitch over the center field wall for a home run, reducing the Iron’s lead, 6-2. But while that was seen as a momentum booster, the Wildcats couldn’t boost run production beyond that. With one out in the top of the seventh, leadoff hitter Klinzing singled and then scored to avoid a single with two out resulting in the final score.

The win lifted NCHS to 14-2 overall including a perfect 5-0 in the Big 12 Conference. Normal West slid to 11-10 overall which includes a 4-1 conference mark. Leonard earned the victory while West’s Savanna Mattson had the loss.

Leonard was intentionally walked at all five of her at-bats and NCHS head coach said he understood that logic on the part of his cross-town opponent. “We’ve been seeing that quite a bit and we’re just used to it now,” NCHS head coach Jeff Cole said. “Mackenzie did a lot of damage to these guys her freshman year. As a result, Cole added, he didn’t fault West head coach April Schermann for employing that strategy.

“We haven’t been able to piece together seven consecutive innings of great softball,” said Schermann. “We had some innings where we fought back and had some momentum going. But we need to do that consistently for all seven innings. Every loss is a learning opportunity and we have a lot of notes from this game that we’re going to work on.”

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