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Braves hand Iowa-Grant first loss in battle of top-10 teams

Belmont suffers first loss three days later against Southwestern

Braves hand Iowa-Grant first loss in battle of top-10 teams

Senior Maddie Rand went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in last Tuesday’s 3–1 win over previously unbeaten Iowa–Grant. Rand leads the team with a .522 batting average.

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POSTED May 3, 2017 3:02 p.m.

BELMONT — In the premier local prep softball game of the week, Belmont ended Iowa–Grant’s perfect season with a 3–1 non-conference victory in a matchup of top-10 teams last Tuesday afternoon at Bond Park.

Senior third baseman Maddie Rand doubled to lead of the bottom of the first inning and later scored on a steal of home to give the Braves an early 1–0.

The next five innings were a pitcher’s duel as Belmont sophomore Sadie Willborn and Iowa–Grant senior traded scoreless innings.

Belmont, ranked second in Division 5, added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Willborn ripped a one-out double and sophomore shortstop Nikki Knebel followed with a single. Then senior right fielder Lydia Leahy delivered a two-run single to the right side to make it 3–0.

The visiting Panthers, who entered the game ranked ninth in Division 4, finally broke through against Willborn in the top of the seventh.

Junior Katie Olson led off with a walk, advanced to second on a passed ball and was bunted over to third by senior Taylor Liddicoat. Olson eventually scored on another passed ball to trim the deficit to 3–1.

Sophomore Lexi Busse singled to center, but Willborn induced a pop fly to second base and a ground out to end the game.
Willborn picked up her eighth win of the season, allowing one run on five hits and a walk. She struck out eight in the complete game victory.

McCarthy (9–1) suffered her first loss of the season, allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits it six innings. She struck out three and walked one.

Six Rivers West-leading Belmont remained unbeaten at 11–0, while SWAL-leading Iowa-Grant fell to 9–1 on the season. But Belmont’s 11-game winnings streak came to an end three days later with a 10–9 eight-inning loss to Southwestern.

After the Braves forced extra innings with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Wildcats won the game in the top of the eight when Hannah Hinman reached on an error, allowing Katie Fritz to score the game-winning run.

The Wildcats (11–3), who are currently second in the SWAL behind Iowa–Grant, jumped out to an early 6–0 lead. Fritz hit a solo homer in the top of the second and the Southwestern added two more runs on a Mya Runde RBI double and a Belmont error to make it 4–0.

Hinman scored on a wild pitch and Fritz singled and scored on a Runde RBI single in the in the top of the fourth to make it 6–0.

Belmont exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Briana Ernst belted an RBI double to make it 6–4. Knebel added and RBI single and courtesy runner Bridgette Miesen scored on a passed ball to make it 6–0. But Southwestern grabbed the lead right back in the top of the fifth on a Hinman two-run homer.

Belmont battled back to force extra innings with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh, tying the game at 9–9 on a sac fly by Willborn.

Belmont’s conference games at Argyle last Thursday and at Potosi on Monday were both rained out and will be made up at later dates.

The Braves (11–1) will host Juda/Albany Thursday before traveling to the Poynette Jamboree on Saturday. They are also scheduled to host Highland on Monday.

The Panthers SWAL showdown at Southwestern was rained out last Thursday and was scheduled to be made up on Tuesday. They home game with Boscobel was also rained out Monday. I–G will return to action Thursday at Riverdale.

Belmont 3, Iowa–Grant 1
(from Tuesday, April 25 @ Belmont)
Iowa–Grant    000    000    1    —  1   5  1
Belmont         100    002    x    —  3   8  2
Leading hitters — IG: Lexi Busse 2x3; B: Maddie Rand 2x4, Sadie Willborn 2x3. 2B — IG: Kate Olson; B: Rand, Willborn.
W — Sadie Willborn (8–0, 7IP, 5H, 1R, 0ER, 8K, 1BB). L — Maranda McCarthy (9–1, 6IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, 3K, 1BB).

Southwestern 10, Belmont 9
(from Friday, April 28 @ Belmont)
Southwestern  103    230    01    —10   9  2
Belmont          000    610    20    —  9 14  3
Leading hitters — S: Katie Fritz 3x4, M. Runde 2x5, Hannah Hinman 2x4; B: Maddie Rand 3x4, Caitlyn Gilbertson 2x4, Brianna Ernst 2x3, Nikki Knebel 2x5. 2B — S: Runde; B: Rand 2, Knebel, Ernst, Abby Althaus. HR — S: Fritz, Himan.
W — Runde (8IP, 14H, 9R, 6ER, 2K, 6BB). L — Sadie Willborn (8–1, 8IP, 9H, 10R, 7ER, 12K, 4BB).

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