HUXLEY – The Ballard softball team atoned for a sluggish outing the night before to take down Woodbury Central in a 2-1 battle between ranked teams at the Ballard Festival Friday in Huxley.
Coming off a 7-0 loss to a Carlisle team then ranked No. 2 in Class 4A the Bombers – rated No. 8 in 4A – used strong pitching and defense to get past a Woodbury Central team rated No. 6 in 2A. The game was Ballard’s only outing of the tournament as most of Saturday’s action was cancelled due to rain.
The game’s time limit was up after six innings, so the two teams had to go to the international tiebreaker rule in the seventh to decide the outcome.
Ballard jumped out to a 1-0 lead after one inning. Pitching dominated for both teams over the next four innings as the Bombers still held the same advantage going into the sixth inning.
Woodbury Central tied the game with a run in the sixth. Ballard was unable to answer in the bottom of the inning, but they blanked Woodbury Central in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh Gabbie Scherle started off on second in accordance with the tiebreaker rule. Jenna Moody moved her to third with a bunt single, Kenzie Ihle walked to load the bases and Mallon singled up the middle to drive in Scherle with the winning run to put Ballard at 6-2 on the season.
Olivia Hall went 3-for-3, Scherle was 2-for-3 with a run and two steals, Annie Stolte went 1-for-3 with a run and Mallon was 1-for-4 with an RBI to lead Ballard’s nine-hit attack on offense. Ihle and Moody each added one single, Ihle tacked on a pair of walks and Moody picked up one steal.
Sheridan Gealow, Ellen Huxford and Sydne Struve each walked once and Madison McInroy had one steal for the Bombers.
Ihle was the winning pitcher. She was dominant, striking out nine and only giving up two hits and one walk without allowing an earned run in seven innings.
Halle Still took the loss for Woodbury Central. She walked five and didn’t strike out any in seven innings.
Ballard 2, Woodbury Central 1
WC 000 001 0 – 1 2 NA
B 100 000 1 – 2 9 NA
WC: Halle Still and Erika Bates
B: Kenzie Ihle and Brooke Mallon
HUXLEY – Mistakes are a killer against elite competition, as Ballard found out in a 7-0 loss to Carlisle June 5 at Huxley.
Ballard, ranked No. 8 in Class 4A, committed three early errors. Carlisle, rated No. 2, took full advantage of those miscues to jump out to a 4-0 lead and never look back.
"It snowballed and that’s what good teams do," Ballard head coach Staci Sniezek said. "We couldn’t do the fundamental things and it came from all over the infield; it wasn’t just one thing in particular."
Carlisle scored its first two runs in the top of the third inning. Gabby DuBois reached on an infield hit to lead off the inning and then Katie Berg was safe on a throwing error to first.
The errant throw put runners on second and third with no outs. Another throwing error resulted in Carlisle’s first run, and a sacrifice fly from Hattie Hupke knocked in a second run.
Carlisle plated two more runs in the fourth.
Taylor Davis drew a one out walk and Gabby Schnathorst followed with a double to again put runners on second and third. A dropped throw to first resulted in both runners scoring.
Carlisle padded its lead in each of the next two innings.
In the fifth inning Hupke hit a solo home run and Davis singled in a run. In the sixth Shyanne DuBois delivered an RBI single for the Wildcats.
"We didn’t give them more than two runs in an inning," Sniezek said. "But they threatened every inning."
Ballard ended up with just three hits against Schnathorst, who struck out three and walked four in seven innings to get the win for Carlisle.
The Bombers’ best chance to score came in the first, fifth and seventh frames.
Sheridan Gealow and Kenzie Ihle both drew a walk with two outs in the first inning. But the Bombers couldn’t capitalize as Brooke Mallon fouled out to first base for the final out.
In the fifth inning Olivia Hall hit a leadoff double to center field, but she was left stranded after back-to-back groundouts and a fly out to Davis at shortstop. In the seventh, Alex Petersen hit an infield single and Sydne Struve walked to put runners on first and second with no outs, but Schnathorst retired the next three batters in order to end the game.
Ihle hit a leadoff single in the fourth inning and Petersen drew a leadoff walk in the second as Ballard’s only other base runners. Carlisle went error-free on the night.
The loss put Ballard at 5-2 overall and 0-1 in the Raccoon River Conference. Carlisle improved to 7-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
"We hit the ball hard and kept battling throughout the game," Sniezek said. "You can’t just overanalyze one night. You have to come back with confidence because the conference is going to eat you up – there’s going to be nights. They’ll do that to other teams, and hopefully other teams will do that to them, and we can get them next time."
Ihle took the loss. She battled an unfavorable strike zone throughout the game and ended up with three strikeouts and four walks in seven innings.
Carlisle 7, Ballard 0
C 002 221 0 – 7 7 0
B 000 000 0 – 0 3 3
C: Gabby Schnathorst and Mary Grace Wachal
B: Kenzie Ihle and Brooke Mallon
2B: C- Schnathorst; B – Olivia Hall
HR: C – Hattie Hupke