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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (prep softball): Platteville 11, Southwestern 7
Tashner, Hillmen hold off Wildcats
Senior centerfielder Catherine Tasher rips a two-run triple in the bottom of the third inning to give Platteville a 7–0 lead in Monday’s 11–7 non-conference season opening win against Southwestern.

PREP SOFTBALL: Platteville 11, Southwestern 7

By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal

PLATTEVILLE — After two weeks of practice and two postponements of their regularly scheduled season opener, the Platteville softball ball team opened the 2022 campaign with an 11–7 non-conference victory over visiting Southwestern Monday afternoon on a chilly 37-degree day.

The game was originally scheduled to be played in Hazel Green, but moved to Platteville mid-Monday.

The host Hillmen took quick advantage of the change of venue and scored four runs off Southwestern starter Hannah Brant in the bottom of the first inning, then tacked on three more over the next two frames to build a commanding 7–0 lead.

But the shaky Wildcats (0–1) found their footing in the top of the fourth inning, scoring four runs against Hillmen senior pitcher Ava Graney.

Southwestern never got any closer than three runs the rest of the way, as the Hillmen bats put up three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to keep the Wildcats at arm’s length.

Graney set the Wildcats down in order in the top of the first, including back-to-back strikeouts to end the frame.

Then Platteville’s top of the lineup went to work.

Junior second baseman Camryn Nies led off with a line drive single to center, and senior Catherine Tashner smashed an RBI double off the yellow plastic liner on the top of the fence in deep left field to make it 1–0.

Sophomore catcher Delaney Johnson followed with an RBI double to left to drive home Tashner. 

Sophomore shortstop Alyssa Blevins drew a one-out walk and stole second base, then after a strikeout, the Hillmen loaded the bases with a walk by Lauren Wernimont. 

Emma Pennekamp then delivered a two-out, two-run single to right field to make it 4–0.

Platteville added a run in the second when Johnson rapped a two-out double and scored on when Graney reached on an error that got between the first baseman’s legs. 

With two outs in the bottom of the third, Nies singled to center, then Tashner smashed another one off the fence in left, this time for a two-run triple and a 7–0 lead. Tashner finished the game 2-for-4 with a pair of extra base hits and three RBI.

Southwestern got back in the game with four runs (three unearned) in the top of the fourth thanks to a pair of Platteville errors in the top of the third. Alana Splinter’s two-run double made it 7–4, but Graney got out of the jam without further damage on a ground ball to shortstop and a pop fly to centerfield.

Blevins smacked a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to get a run back for the home team.

Johnson ripped a two-run triple to deep center in the bottom of the fifth to make it 10–5, then scored on a ground out by Graney. Johnson finished the game 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, two RBI and three runs scored.

Nies also went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI as Platteville’s lead off hitter.

The Wildcats got a run back in the sixth on an RBI single by Farrey, and one more in the top of the seventh on an RBI single back up the middle by Mick, but Graney got Splinter to fly out to Pennekamp in right field to end the game.

Graney (1–0) picked up the win, allowing seven runs, four earned, on nine hits and one walk in seven innings. She struck out four.

Brant took the loss, allowing four earned runs on four hits and two walks in her only inning of work.

Gracie Redferan went 2-for-3 and Kelsey Mick was 2-for-4 to lead the Wildcats.

Platteville was scheduled to host Potosi/Cassville Tuesday afternoon. The Hillmen will then return to action Tuesday at Legion Park against Belmont at 5 p.m. 

Platteville 11, Southwestern 7
(from Monday, March 28 @ Platteville)
Southwestern...000 411 1 —   7   9  2
Platteville..........412 130 x — 11 12  3
  Leading hitters — S: Gracie Redfearn 2x3, Kelsey Mick 2x4; P: Camryn Nies 3x4, Catherine Tashner 2x4, Delaney Johnson 3x4. 2B — S: Heather Hinman, K. Mick, Alana Spinter; P: Johnson 2, Tashner. 3B — P: Johnson, Tashner.
W — Ava Graney (1–0, 7IP, 9H, 7R, 3ER, 4K, 1BB). L — Hannah Brant (1IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 1K, 2BB).