PEKIN — No wins in five games.
That's seems like such a long time ago for the Pekin softball team.
The Panthers have more than made up for an 0-5 start to the season, winning for the seventh time in 11 games on Tuesday with a Southeast Iowa Superconference north division split against Wapello. Remi Duwa's solo home run and bases-clearing double helped Pekin reach the .500 mark for the first time in head coach Shelby Blakely's first season at the helm of the Panthers with a 12-2 win over the Arrows, making up a game that was rained out in the first week of the season.
"I had really been struggling with my hitting at the beginning of the season," Duwa said. "I told myself to swing away and hit the ball hard. I moved up to second in the line-up from seventh going into the Fairfield tournament because I can bunt my way on base.
"I thought my home run was going to be a pop up. I didn't know where it was going off the bat, but when I saw the umpire signal it was gone, I was pretty excited."
Pekin's bid to move over .500 came up just short in game two. Emma Reid had two hits that drove in three runs in the final two innings of the nightcap, allowing Wapello (7-8, 4-4 SEI north) to rally for an 8-4 win over the resurgent Panthers who had erased a 3-1 deficit thanks to home runs by Zoey Wright and Emi Zook in the fifth.
In a Monday rematch of a semifinal in the Fairfield Invitational, the Panthers scored all their runs in the middle innings to blow out the New London Tigers in a five-inning SEI Superconference crossover game.
Wright went 3-for-4 with two runs scored against New London, while Emilee Linder and Ellie Ledger also scored twice. Cari Duwa tossed a three-hit shutout and walked one.
Pekin (7-8, 4-4 SEI north) will look to even their overall record once again on Thursday night at Winfield-Mount Union. The Panthers fell at home to the Wolves, 7-4, in the second game of the season.
Scott Jackson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.