BELMONT — Belmont ace Sadie Willborn twirled six scoreless innings and helped her own cause by driving in two runs as the #3-ranked Braves remained unbeaten on the season with a 7–3 Six Rivers West victory over River Ridge at Bond Park Tuesday, April 9.
Outfielder Mackenzie Shelnutt drove in a run and scored twice to aid the win for Belmont (6–0 overall, 2–0 Six Rivers), while first baseman McKenzie Reuter scored two runs with catcher Abby Althaus and second baseman Payton Johnson each adding a run and a RBI for the Braves.
Willborn (6–0) was nearly untouchable through the first six innings of game, yielding just two base runners and no runs over that span while recording 12 of her 13 strikeouts.
The Braves grabbed the lead amid a bit of controversy in the home half of the second inning. With one out and one on, Johnson stepped up to the plate and worked a full-count before River Ridge head coach Wade Winkers brought it to the home plate umpire’s attention that she was batting out of order.
After a long discussion, it was decided that the scheduled batter, Shelnutt, would resume the at-bat with a 3–2 count. Shelnutt reached on an error to put two runners on, and Johnson followed in her original batting position by reaching on a bunt to load the bases. Then, Caitlyn Cushman was hit by a pitch to plate Reuter for the first run. Althaus followed with a single to score Shelnutt, and Willborn walked with two down to bring in Johnson for a 3–0 lead.
Shelnutt tripled in a Reuter and scored on another sacrifice bunt by Johnson in the third inning to extend Belmont’s advantage to 5–0. Shortstop Nikki Knebel doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth, and Althaus singled and scored on a RBI-base hit by Willborn in the sixth to push the lead to 7–0.
With the game seemingly in hand, the Timberwolves (3–2, 0–1) refused to go down without a fight. Gracie Hamann led off the Wolves’ seventh with a ringing double to right, and with one down Moravits reached on an infield single to put two runners on. Hamann came in to score on a fielder’s choice by Sadie Crubel, who was called out on a close play at first for the second out of the inning.
A pair of Belmont errors allowed two more runs to score to make it 7–3, but Willborn put down the T’Wolves uprising by striking out the next batter for the final out.
Althaus and Knebel each went 2-for-4 at the plate to account for four of Belmont’s seven hits on the day.
Willborn earned the complete-game win after allowing one earned run on three hits and one walk with 13 Ks.
Belmont’s home against Pecatonica Thursday was postponed due to the weather and rescheduled for Wednesday, May 1, at 4:30 p.m. at Bond Park.
The Lady Braves have upcoming Six Rivers games scheduled at home against East foes Black Hawk on Thursday, April 18, and Juda/Albany on Monday, April 22, and at West foe Benton/Shullsburg on Tuesday, April 23. All three games are scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
Belmont 7, River Ridge 3
(from Tuesday, April 9 @ Belmont)
River Ridge 000 000 3 — 3 3 1
Belmont 032 011 x — 7 7 2
Leading hitters — RR: Moravits 2x3; B: Abby Althaus 2x4, Nikki Knebel 2x4. 2B — Hamann, Moravits; B: Knebel. 3B — B: Mackenzie Shelnutt.
W — Sadie Willborn (6–0, 7IP, 3H, 3R, 1ER, 13K, 1BB). L — Vogt (6IP, 7H, 7R, 4ER, 5K, 4BB).