BELMONT — When things are going right for Belmont, a one-run lead seems like an insurmountable obstacle.
The #3-ranked Braves (8–0 overall, 4–0 Six Rivers) made an early one-run lead hold up against Six Rivers East rival Black Hawk (4–3, 2–3) at Bond Park Thursday, as senior Sadie Willborn out-dueled junior Hannah Butler in the pitcher’s circle to lead her Braves to a hard-fought 1–0 victory over the visiting Warriors.
Each ace gave up a lead-off double, then yielded little else as the two teams combined for just nine base runners in the game.
Willborn worked around a double by Bailey Butler to open the game by striking out back-to-back Warriors to end the top of the first inning, and then she started off the Belmont first by ripping a lead-off double to centerfield.
A sacrifice bunt by Abby Althaus moved Willborn to third, and she came in to score on Nikki Knebel’s RBI single to right to make it 1–0.
That was all the cushion she needed as the Braves kept the Warriors off the scoreboard the whole game. Black Hawk put two runners on in the third inning and had a running in scoring position in the fifth and another on base in the sixth, but were unable to pass third base as Willborn worked her way out of each jam to earn her second shutout of the season.
After getting a double play to end the threat in the sixth, Willborn (8–0) retired the Warriors in order in the seventh for the win. She allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter, while fanning eight.
Hannah Butler (3–3) settled in after the first inning and allowed only two more Belmont runners the rest of the way, however she took the tough loss allowing a run on four hits with no walks and four Ks.
Bailey Butler had both hits for the Warriors, who have been knocked out of the playoffs in each of the past two season by Black Hawk alumnus Jeff Hodgson’s Braves.
Belmont earned a key Six Rivers West victory at Potosi Tuesday, April 16, after knocking off the host Chieftains, 7–2, behind another gem in the circle by Willborn and a two-RBI effort by DP Callie Douglas.
The Braves took the lead on single runs in the first and third innings, and then built up a 6–0 advantage by tallying four insurance runs in the fourth inning. Douglas singled in Willborn, who doubled to open the game, to put Belmont into the lead to stay, and she added another RBI single in the fourth.
Althaus and Knebel each drove in a run and scored another for the Braves, while Payton Johnson went 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Braves.
On Monday, Belmont held a 5–0 lead over Juda/Albany when their game was called in the fourth inning due to rain and lightning.
Belmont has a busy week scheduled with games at Barneveld Thursday, at home against Southwestern Friday, at home against #7-ranked Highland Monday, and at Fennimore on Tuesday. All four games are set to start at 5 p.m.
Belmont 1, Black Hawk 0
(from Thursday, April 18 @ Belmont)
Black Hawk 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Belmont 100 000 x — 1 4 2
Leading hitters — BH: Bailey Butler 2x3. 2B — BH: B. Butler; Bel: Sadie Willborn.
W — Sadie Willborn (8–0, 7IP, 2H, 0R, 8K, 0BB). L — Hannah Butler (6IP, 4H, 1ER, 4K, 0BB).
Belmont 7, Potosi 2
(from Tuesday, April 16 @ Potosi)
Belmont 101 400 1 — 7 12 1
Potosi 000 001 1 — 2 3 2
Leading hitters — B: Abby Althaus 2x4, Callie Douglas 2x3, Payton Johnson 2x3. 2B — B: Sadie Willborn; P: Jessica Noonan.
W — Sadie Willborn (7–0, 7IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 14K, 3BB). L — Jadyn Noonan (4–4, 7IP, 12H, 7R, 5ER, 7K, 1BB).