From the first inning, the Maquoketa Valley softball team looked to be on a mission. The Wildcats put two players on base before the first out, took a one-run lead on the Blazers before racing to a 10-3 non-conference win, June 19, at the Beckman softball complex.
After Wildcat pitcher Abbie Sheehy controlled the Blazers in their half of the frame, three-up, three down, her teammates did it again, scoring two more runs in the second for a 3-0 lead. Kendra Hillers reached via error and proceeded to score, along with Payton Beaman, when Taya Tucker drilled a hard shot past shortstop Reece Osterhaus.
It was the fourth inning that determined the actual outcome. Hillers opened, blooping to short center. After Sheehy sacrifice bunted her to second, a Beaman single plated her. Beaman came in a batter later on Tucker’s single to left. A passed ball on Brooke Elgin’s at-bat plated Carissa Sabers and Tucker followed when Elgin rolled one past second and made Lauren Osterhaus miss, 7-0. The Wildcats scored two more times in the frame when Erin Knipper doubled to center field. The Blazers recovered on the final batter, with Shea Steffen, now at short, grabbing the shot from Hillers and firing to second for the force. Osterhaus then sent the ball home for Kamryn Klas to tag Ries, ending the inning with a double play but down 9-0.
With two outs in the fifth, Emily Wulfekuhle was hit-by-pitch and Reece Osterhaus singled to short center. Lauren Osterhaus singled, scoring both Reece and Wulfekuhle’s sub-runner before Lauren Osterhaus was caught off the bag at first for the third out.
The Wildcats retaliated again in the fifth when back-to-back doubles from Beaman and Sabers plated Beaman. The combination of Reese Osterhaus on third to Keeley Schmitt at first ended the inning.
The final Blazer run scored in the bottom of the sixth. Klas doubled and Steffen saw her long, long ball caught at the fence by left fielder Hillers before Schmitt doubled in Klas, 10-3.
Wildcat coach Macey Kintzle was pleased with her team’s performance, “especially Abby in the circle. This is her first varsity start and she did such a good job, keeping their bats under control. Whenever she did give up a hit, her teammates backed her up. This was a game we really needed, we were at 1-3 for the year. This does wonders for our confidence.”
Beckman coach Ryan Meissner added, “Our girls battle, there’s no doubt about that. We’re just giving too many outs away right now. We’re here to get better every day. We added Maquoketa Valley, we added North Scott. We added some teams to just play and get better, learn and grow. Their attitudes are awesome. It’s fun coaching these girls, it really is.”
For the Wildcats, Beaman was 3-for-4, with a double, Sabers went 3-for-5 (double), Tucker 2-for-4 (two doubles), Krista Ries 2-for-4, Knipper and Hillers with hits. Sheehy earned the win in her first varsity start, giving up just three runs on seven hits, hitting and fanning two.
Official Beckman stats were not available by press time.