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PCM softball routs Chariton, ends season with loss to Solon

Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 10:10 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 10:21 a.m. CST
Caption
(Troy Hyde/Prairie City News)
Prairie City-Monroe senior Brooke Nicholson hits a ball to the outfield during the Class 3A Region 7 opening-round win against Chariton on July 5. The Mustangs' season ended after 6-4 loss to sixth-ranked Solon on July 7.
Caption
(Troy Hyde/Prairie City News)
Prairie City-Monroe senior Katie Vande Wall catches the ball for an out at third base during the Mustangs' win over Chariton on July 5.

MONROE — Neither senior pitcher Kayla Jennings nor senior catcher Courtney Bridges had any idea that Jennings threw a no-hitter on July 5 during the Mustangs’ 12-0 win over Chariton.

The battery mates were so locked in that both tried to stay focused on the task at hand.

PCM’s softball team broke open a scoreless game with a nine-run third inning and then ended the game early with a three-run fourth. Jennings did the rest inside the circle as the Mustangs advanced to the Class 3A Region 7 semifinals.

Jennings, who missed the last two PCM games because of her brother’s military graduation, allowed three walks in the win, but no Chariton batter reached on a hit. There were no Mustang errors either.

“It felt good to get back out there,” said Jennings, who struck out five. “I was nervous at the beginning because of the tight strike zone, but I knew the defense had my back if I had to throw it down the middle.”

Offensively, the Mustangs (17-13) chased several pitches out of the zone in the first two innings. Once they let the bad pitches go by and hit the ones in the zone, they were able to put some runs on the board.

PCM sent 13 batters to the plate in the nine-run third inning. The Mustangs drew five straight one-out walks.

Senior Jaiden Rogers was thrown out trying to steal second before seniors Jayci Vos and Abby Waddell and junior Madison Foster all walked to load the bases. Jennings walked with a full count to put the Mustangs on the board.

Senior Katie Vande Wall made it 3-0 with a two-run single and then Bridges made it 5-0 with a two-run single of her own.

Senior Brooke Nicholson followed with an RBI triple to center field and then sophomore Anna Shaver laced an RBI single to add to the lead. Nicholson and Shaver both scored when Rogers hit a ball to left field that was dropped with two outs.

Rogers made it 9-0 after she scored on a wild pitch.

“The scouting report said the pitchers have the tendency to walk hitters. We came into the game not wanting to swing at bad pitches,” PCM coach Scott Bridges said. “We chased three pitches in the first inning, and then we got dialed in a little better in the second.

“We took some walks in the third and then started hitting pitches that were over the plate.”

Jennings (13-9) struck out a pair during a 1-2-3 third inning to keep the no-hitter intact.

The Mustangs added to their lead in the fourth. Foster started the inning with a walk and then Jennings laced a double to put runners on second and third with no outs.

A Chariton error on a ground ball by Courtney Bridges scored both Foster and Jennings to make it 11-0. Nicholson then walked with one out before Shaver’s RBI double completed the scoring.

“We like to hit the ball, so it was hard to lay off some of those pitches early, but once we settled down, we were able to get on her,” Courtney Bridges said.

Jennings added, “We chased some pitches. The second time around we waited for our pitch and were able to hit strikes.”

Jennings got the first two batters in the bottom of the fourth before walking Avelina Popkov for a second time in the game. Jennings ended the game with a pop up to second base.

“Her curve ball was on point today,” Courtney Bridges said. “A lot of their hitters were chasing that pitch.”

Shaver had two hits, two RBIs and one run scored. Foster and Jennings both had one hit and two runs. Foster walked twice and Jennings doubled and walked.

Vos had two walks and scored a run. Vande Wall and Courtney Bridges each had two-run hits.

Chariton (3-23) ended the season with eight straight losses. The Chargers were outscored 86-15 during that stretch.

Solon 6, PCM 4

SOLON — Rogers hit a three-run home run to cut the Mustangs’ deficit in half, but PCM couldn’t complete the comeback in a season-ending regional semifinal loss to the No. 6 Spartans on July 7.

Solon scored four runs in the fourth and went up 6-0 with two more in the sixth. Rogers made it 6-3 in the sixth and then PCM plated its final run on an error in the seventh.

Solon (30-12) played its regional final game against No. 9 Albia on July 10.

Shaver went 3-for-3 including a double and a run scored for the Mustangs. The other three hits came from Vande Wall, Foster and Rogers. Rogers’ second homer of the season netted three RBIs, freshman Regan Freland scored the fourth run as a courtesy runner in the seventh.

“We had seven or eight hard-hit balls that were right at people,” Coach Bridges said. “That was the difference in the game to me. We only struck out twice.”

Jennings took the loss in the circle after allowing six earned runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and one walk.

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