By ROGER THOMAS Courier correspondent
---- — EDDYVILLE — Sydney Weldon hit the game's first pitch out of the park for a quick 1-0 Albia lead.
Winning pitcher Lexie Van Polen added a three-run bomb in the third to close out the Lady Dee scoring.
It would be enough, as the 15th-ranked (2A) E-B-F Rockets would be held to two runs by the solid pitching performance by Van Polen in SCC softball action Monday night in Eddyville. Albia snapped E-B-F's 11-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Monday night in Eddyville.
After Weldon's lead-off home run to deep centerfield, the Lady Dees were retired in order to end the visitors' first.
"I told myself that if the first pitch was a strike, I was going for it," said Weldon. "What an awesome feeling to start the game like that."
The Rockets threatened to tie it in the home first, but a Lady Dee error and Tasha Alexander's triple were wasted as a base running error killed the inning.
The Rockets did tie it in the second. Jarrah Jensen led off with a single and pinch runner Ashley Pilcher would come around to score on a hit by Shelby Allgood.
Albia used a one out rally to score the game winners in the third. Weldon had her second hit, a single, and Makenzie Griffin followed with a single before Van Polen homered to left center.
"We're not really built on using the long ball," said Albia coach Mitch Chance. "Tonight, though, our girls had the best, aggressive approach at the plate that I've seen us have in a long time."
E-B-F added a single run in the bottom of the inning. Jensen had a two-out single, followed by one from Rachel Maloy. Sadie Baugher would deliver the run with an RBI single.
If you would have asked the fans in attendance if they thought the scoring was done, nearly everyone would have said — no way. Both coaches were quick to concur.
"No way did I think that four would be enough," said Chance. "The way they hit and score runs — I thought we'd need six or seven."
"Even though we had the base running mistake and left six runners on base early, I was confident that we'd score more," E-B-F coach Tony Fenton added. "We just didn't deliver the timely hit."
The pace of the game slowed but the outcome was still to be determined. The pitchers and defenses would take over. Through the fourth, fifth, and sixth, Van Polen would limit the Rockets to just two base-runners.
"After the first couple of innings, I felt like I was going to pitch a good game," said Van Polen. "My home run, and those early runs really pumped me up."
Albia threatened to add to the two run lead in the fourth. They had two hits, but Rocket starting pitcher, Nataliah Hopkins retired the next 11 hitters in a row to keep her team within two heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Albia committed two errors in the Rockets' last at bat, but three ground ball outs closed out the big win for the Lady Dees.
"After last weekend and how poorly we played, I didn't know what to expect," said Chance. "Our approach at the plate and the job that Lexie (Van Polen) did, especially in the seventh, made it a special win."
"Give most of the credit to Albia," added Fenton. "Van Polen really hit her spots and kept us off balance."
The E-B-F loss makes them 17-5 overall and 4-2 in the SCC The win moves Albia to 8-11 and 3-3 in SCC play.
No. 15 (2A) EBF returns to SCC play Thursday at Davis County. Albia took on No. 9 (4A) Oskaloosa Tuesday as the Courier went to press and will head to Southeast Warren tonight.
Albia 4, E-B-F 2
Albia 103 000 0 — 4 6 4
E-B-F 011 000 0 — 2 8 0
Albia battery — Van Polen (WP (7IP, 8H, 2R, 1ER, 5K, 0BB), Emma Dinneen catching.
2B — none.
3B — none.
HR — Weldon, Van Polen.
Hits — Weldon 2-for-4, Griffin 1-for-4, Van Polen 1-for-3, Dinneen 1-for-3, Kaitlin Spieler 1-for-3.
RBI — Weldon, Van Polen 3. Runs — Weldon 2, Griffin, Van Polen.
E-B-F battery — Hopkins (LP) (7IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 6K, 2BB), J. Jensen catching.
2B — none.
3B — Alexander.
HR — none.
Hits —Haegan Boyer 1-for-4, Alexander 1-for-4, J. Jensen 2-for-4, Maloy 1-for-4, Baugher 2-for-3, Allgood 1-for-3.
RBI — Baugher, Allgood. Runs — Pilcher 2.