By Steve Robinson | May 25, 2021 - 3:31 pm
Posted in Category: Normal West HS, The Normalite, U-High

NORMAL – University High School senior shortstop Abby Knight blasted two home runs to help her team beat Normal Community West Monday, 5-3, at Champion Fields.

The lead off batting senior shortstop’s first turn at the plate ended in a home run over the center field fence giving the Pioneers (15-5) a quick 1-0 lead.

Two innings later, in the top of the third, with two outs and nobody on base, Knight belted a 2-ball 2-strike pitch from Wildcats pitcher Rylee McConigle over the center field fence a second time, giving the Pioneers a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the sixth inning, with one out, Knight walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice by pitcher Jen Kuhn, and scored on an error by West shortstop Landes Benedict, upping the Pioneers’ lead to 3-0.

With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Pioneers center fielder Brooke Cordray singled and was followed by designated player Evellyn Kline’s single and Knight being walked. Winning senior pitcher Kuhn followed and was walked scoring Cordray, increasing U-High’s lead, 4-0. The Pioneers last point came with Kline crossing the plate.

Normal West freshman third baseman Emily McCandless led off her team’s bottom half of the seventh with a walk followed by right fielder Gracie White striking out for West’s first out. Benedict followed and benefitted from a Pioneers two-base error. Sophomore Emily Kobel followed with a three-run shot that left the yard over the left field fence resulting in the eventual final score. The loss dropped the Wildcats record following this game to

West sophomore center fielder Katie Poehlman hit a double after that, followed by a single from Post being walked. But with two on, West first baseman Claire Post hit the ball in the direction of U-High sophomore third baseman Lauryn Blemler who fired the ball to sophomore first baseman Adi Rumler for the final out of the contest.

Kuhn’s win for the Pioneers increased her record to 10-2 while the loss went to McConigle whose record dropped to 12-3. Normal West’s record dropped to 20-5.

Of the two home runs she hit toward U-High’s victory, Knight said, “I take batting practice and I just try to make contact and it goes out like it did today.” She said Pioneers head coach Al Tolliver had stressed trying to make contact when there were two strikes in the count. “I look for lower pitches,” she added regarding what she tries looking for when at the plate.

“It’s always nice when Abby starts a game with a home run,” U-High head coach Al Toliver said. “It’s nice to get those early leads but we knew it would be a battle at the end and it was.”

“We kind of need to get our bats going a little earlier,” said Normal West head coach April Schermann. At times, she added, “We had runners in scoring position and we didn’t come up with that big hit.

Mother Of Normal West Player Honored: Schermann said her team is honored to be able to play for Melissa Fasig, mother of Wildcats player Kenzie Fasig. Melissa is currently battling breast cancer. All the monies the team has raised is helping bring awareness to people and raise money to help with the Fasig’s medical costs. “That’s really important to us,” Schermann added.

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