Softball: St. Bede 2, Princeton 1 (9 inn.)
PERU — Charleigh Holmes had just one thought on her mind when she walked to plate in the bottom of the ninth inning and the winning run standing at third base for the St. Bede Lady Bruins Tuesday night — get a hit.
The St. Bede catcher ripped the first offering by PHS pitcher Katie Bates to center field to bring home Addi Lee with the walk-off run, lifting the Lady Bruins to a 2-1 win.
“It felt wonderful. All I was telling myself walking up, ‘Base hit, base hit, base hit,’” Holmes said. “I was blocking everyone out. Oh my gosh, it felt so good.”
Holmes said she got the pitch she was looking for.
“When I was up to bat, she was usually throwing me outside, it felt like. That’s always my ball to hit, so when I saw it, I just attacked right away,” she said. “It’s honestly the best feeling. All those worries, ‘Yes (they’re gone).’”
SBA coach Rob Ruppert said Holmes had a good, aggressive at-bat.
“Obviously their pitcher doesn’t want to put anybody on base, so she’s going to come right at us, and Charleigh was ready,” he said. “Boy, she put a good swing on it. Charleigh has been hitting the ball real well. She hit a home run couple nights ago (against Bureau Valley). She hit the ball hard tonight, too. Hey, that’s what it takes. Just keep working.”
With the win, the Lady Bruins (7-3) took over first place in the TRAC East at 6-1 with Princeton (9-2, 4-1) taking its first loss in conference play.
“I feel like as a team, we finally came together and we realize that we have to keep going,” Holmes said. “Just because we made it to super-sectionals last year, we still have to work our way up to this year. And here I think we realized it, and we’re going to become stronger next time we play them.”
Both teams hurt themselves on the base paths late that could have led to victory earlier.
The Lady Bruins loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with one out, but senior shortstop Maggie Sons was caught between bases on Hayley Short’s pop-up to PHS second baseman Abby Peterson, who tossed to first for the easy double play.
The Tigresses lost a pair of runners between bases in extra innings. McKenzie Hecht doubled in the eighth and Peterson double in the ninth, both to center, only to have both tagged out when they strayed too far around second and couldn’t get back.
“Those are on me, both of them. No doubt. I got the girls caught between second and third, trying to turn them around. It was my mistake, 100 percent,” PHS coach Joe Bates said.
Ruppert felt most fortunate with PHS’ base-running miscues knowing the Lady Bruins lost a golden opportunity to win it in the seventh.
“We caught them in some bad running. They caught us in a bad run also. Both sides made mistakes,” Ruppert said. “You know, we try to be aggressive running bases and I’m sure they do, too, and make the other team make plays, and just so happens we made plays tonight.”
The Lady Bruins struck first in the bottom of the third on a groundout to second by Short to score Sons, who reached by error.
Princeton evened the score in the top of the fourth even after losing a runner at third base. Courtesy runner Rilee Sterling was thrown out on a relay by right fielder Marissa Boehm to Sons at short, who fired to Claire Morrow for the tag at third. Abby Peterson picked the Tigresses up with an RBI hit to center field, scoring courtesy runner Taylor Wetsel.
“I could not ask for anything more from the girls. They played fabulous softball all the way through. Even after some rough spots, they battled and played excellent ball, and showed what they’re made of,” Joe Bates said.
Sons and Holmes each had two hits for the winners as did Peterson for PHS.
May went the distance in the circle for the win, striking out six while scattering eight hits.
Katie Bates also went the full nine, allowing seven hits and two walks over nine innings with nine strikeouts, taking the loss.
“We talk about having to grind out games at times, and this was one of those times,” Ruppert said. “Down the line farther when we get into regionals, and hopefully sectionals and super-sectional, you might see a lot of games like that. It’s a good win for us. Gives us some confidence knowing we can play with anybody in the conference.”
Note: Visit https://twiter.com/bcrsportsed/st tus/1115782226430578688 for a video of Holme’s walk-off hit.