ROGER THOMAS Courier Correspondent By ROGER THOMAS Courier correspondent
---- — MUSCATINE — Less than two weeks ago, the Indian Hills Warriors traveled to Muscatine and split a Region XI softball doubleheader with the Cardinals.
On Tuesday afternoon, at R. L. Hellyer Field, the results were the same. The Warriors scored three first-inning runs, went up 5-0 and rode the complete game pitching performance of Kendle Schieber to a 5-2 win in game one, but the visitors used a three-run home run of Dana Suiter to grab the nightcap 4-1.
The top of the IHCC batting order got them off to a fast start. Hilliary Pennington and Olivia Starcevich had two infield hits, and, coupled with two Muscatine errors, the Warriors led 1-0. Schieber and Carrie Hudson had back-to-back two-out doubles to plate the final two runs of the first.
“We’ve been inconsistent with quick starts this season” said Warrior coach Jim Overturf. “The early runs are big because it sends a message to the other team — that they will have to score to beat us.”
Schieber ended the first with a strikeout and the three-run lead helped her breeze through the second and third by adding five more strikeouts.
“The early runs are really good” said Schieber. “Then it’s my job to go out and keep them down.”
The Warriors added two third-inning runs to go up 5-0. Kaylyn Decock and Hudson had singles. Cheyenne Ellis’ single plated the first run and Pennington reached base for her third-consecutive time with an RBI walk.
“I think being a sophomore really helps. I know how teams are going to play defense in certain situations,” said Pennington. “If I try and lead by example, then I have to be a problem for teams at the top of the order.”
Muscatine used three hits to score two runs in the fourth. Suiter drove in both runs with a two-out double. Muscatine threatened again in the fifth — it left the bases loaded. In the sixth, the Cardinals left two more runners stranded on base. Schieber ended the threat with her ninth strikeout.
The Warriors had a threat of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Again, Pennington and Starcevich had back-to-back infield hits to get the inning started with one out. A walk loaded the bases, but the Warriors left all three stranded.
“Our slappers have done a great job of getting on base and helping the top of our order be productive,” said Overturf.
The Warrior defense helped starting pitcher Courtney Collins get off to a good start in the second game. In the second inning, the Warriors turned a bad bunt into a double play that sat the Cardinals down.
“We really gave a good effort tonight,” said Overturf. “Our defense has really improved and that lets us make the plays we need to.”
Muscatine scored the runs it needed to get the split in the top of the fourth. Two walks preceded the big home run by Suiter. The Warriors wasted a two-out double of the wall in right center field by DeCock in the fourth. Muscatine turned a double play in the fifth to retire the Warriors.
The Warriors again used the speed of their slap hitters to give themselves a good chance to score in the sixth. Local softball products Laci Moore (Cardinal) and Starcevich (Centerville) each had infield hits sandwiched around a Pennington sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and third with only one out. The number three and four hitters in the Warrior line-up were retired and the inning ended with the visitors up 3-1.
“We just didn’t get the timely hit” said Overturf. “I think we are pressing a little in certain situations.”
The Cardinals used two hits and a sacrifice fly to add an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Schieber led off the top of the seventh with a single, but the Cardinals used a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.
“I have to say that our pitching staff did a good job today” said Overturf. “With very few exceptions, they did just what we asked them to do.”
The split leaves the Warriors at 16-22, 2-4. They will be back in action Friday when they go on the road to Burlington to take on Southeastern.
Indian Hills 5, Muscatine CC 2
MUSC 000 200 0 — 2 7 2
IHCC 302 000 x — 5 10 2
MCC battery — Amanda Williams (LP) (2 1/3IP, 7H, 5R, 2ER, 1K, 1BB), Mariah Freel (3 2/3IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 3BB), Jamie Coultas catching.
2B — Kaitlyn Caston, Suiter, Julia Sass.
Hits —Kayla Schneider 2-for-4, Caston 2-for-3, Suiter 1-for-3, Sass 1-for-3, Amanda Clemens 1-for-3.
RBI — Suiter 2. Runs — Schneider, Caston.
IHCC battery — Schieber (WP) (7IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 9K, 1BB), DeCock catching.
2B — Schieber, Hudson.
3B — none.
HR — none.
Hits —Pennington 2-for-2, Starcevich 2-for-3, DeCock 1-for-4, Schieber 1-for-3, Hudson 2-for-3, Ellis 2-for-3.
RBI — Pennington, Scheiber, Hudson, Ellis. Runs — Pennington, Starcevich, Katie Walsh, Schieber, Hudson.
Muscatine CC 4, Indian Hills 1
MCC 000 300 1 — 4 4 2
IHCC 001 000 0 — 1 6 1
MCC battery — Caston (WP) (7IP, 6H, 1R, 0ER, 2K, 1BB), Coultas catching.
2B — Alex Tuminaro.
HR — Suiter.
Hits — Caitlinn Nichol 1-for-3, Suiter 2-for-3, Tuminaro 1-for-3.
RBI — Jenna Lane, Suiter 3. Runs — Nikki Watkins, Carley Wescom, Suiter, Tuminaro.
IHCC battery — Collins (LP) (4IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 2K, 3BB), Mackenzie Haight (2 1/3IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 2K, 2BB), Megan Brady (2/3IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 1BB), DeCock catching.
2B — DeCock.
Hits — Pennington 1-for-2, Starcevich 1-for-3, DeCock 1-for-3, Schieber 1-for-3, Moore 2-for-2.
RBI — none. Runs — Felisha Durflinger.