BLOOMFIELD – Entering Monday night, both Chariton and Davis County were looking to wash away the bad taste of a losing weekend in Jefferson County.
If it was a matter of relying on an ace pitcher to get that much-needed bounce-back win, it appeared the advantage could be found wearing Mustang maroon and gold. Entering Monday, Davis County junior Rylee Eakins had already become the first pitcher in the South Central Conference to top the 100-strikeout barrier.
But it wasn’t Eakins who was the most impressive ace dealing in the pitching circle on Monday night in Bloomfield. That honor went to the sophomore hurler wearing Chariton red and silver.
Ellie Bengtson stared down Eakins and the rest of the Mustangs, tossing her first shutout of the season. The young Charger hurler struck out seven batters, five more than Eakins, and didn’t allow one Mustang to reach with a walk as the five-hitter lifted Chariton to a much-needed 3-0 SCC road win.
“I know (Davis County) had been hitting,” Bengtson said after leading the Chargers to victory following an 0-3 visit to the Fairfield Tournament. “I thought it would be a good game where they’d score some runs and we’d score some runs. I thought it would be a good battle. I didn’t think the shutout would happen.”
Facing a pitcher in Eakins, who has racked up strikeout totals of 12, 13 and 15 this season, Chariton didn’t waste any time making contact at the plate. Back-to-back errors by the Mustang defense allowed the Chargers to plate the first run of the night two batters into the game.
“We took some batting practice before we left for the game and the girls set some goals going into this game,” Chariton head coach Deb Seuferer said. “One of those goals was to put the ball in play and put the pressure on the defense to make a play. That’s something we’ve really struggled with this year, so it was huge that we had girls step up to do that early in the game.”