Rylie Alrich pitched a gem in the opening game of the season for the Maquoketa Valley softball team and the offense pounded out 12 hits as the Wildcats beat Starmont, 8-0, in game one of a doubleheader played in Delhi May 23. The Stars regrouped to beat the Wildcats, 9-6, in the nightcap.

“Rylie threw a great game for us. Our girls came out and were on the bats right away,” said Macey Kintzle, first-year head coach of the Wildcats. “We were going along nicely and then Taya Tucker helped us out by hitting a big two-run home run that put the game away for us.”

The Wildcats scored a lone run in the bottom of the first inning and added two more in the third and three in the fifth to make it a 6-0 lead for the home team.

While Alrich was cruising along on her way to throwing a four-hit shutout where she walked two and struck out eight, Tucker thumped a two-run bomb that gave the Wildcats a comfortable 8-0 win.

Kintzle and her gang weren’t so lucky in game two as the Stars took advantage of Allie Knipper and the Wildcat defense as they pushed runs across the plate in each of the first four innings to take a 5-0 lead.

Already proving that they aren’t out of any game, the Wildcats rallied to score four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to get within one.

Neither team scored in the fifth, but the Stars were back at it as they scored two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. The Wildcats could only respond with single runs in the sixth and seventh and lost the game 9-6.

“We were very proud of how we played these first two games. Starmont hit the ball well the second game and found some holes. We got down 5-0 and instead of putting our heads down, we picked it up and stuck with them,” said Kintzle. “We made them earn that win. Sure, it was a loss but I’m not disappointed by any means. We learned a few things that will just make us better.”

Tucker was 5-for-8 with a double and a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored, while Olivia Hoeger was 4-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and scored twice.

“The girls just did a great job hitting and our defense, even though we made a few errors, honestly played very well,” said Kintzle about her young team’s play on the first day of the season. “They showed me a lot about themselves today and a glimpse of what they are capable of. I think we’ll have a lot of fun this season.”