SOUTH WAYNE — The Belmont softball team shook off last week’s snow storm and a nine-day layoff between games heated up as quickly as the weather.
Coach Jeff Hodgson’s Braves (8–1, 3–0 SRC) blanked Six Rivers East opponents Black Hawk and Monticello last Thursday and Friday after Tuesday’s road game at Highland was wiped out by snow.
Belmont hosted a pair of last minute non-conference games on Saturday and improved to 7–1 on the season with wins over Marathon and Platteville, then opened the week with a dominating 19–4 conference victory over River Ridge Monday afternoon.
Junior pitcher Sadie Willborn went 2-for-4, drove in Belmont’s first two runs and tossed a five-hit complete game shutout to lead the Braves to a 5–0 win over at Black Hawk on Thursday.
Junior catcher Abby Althaus went 3-for-4 with a double, and junior shortstop Nikki Knebel went 2-for-4. McKenzie Reuter and Lilly Ruiz had RBI singles in the third and MacKensie Shellnut and an RBI double in the sixth.
One day later, Willborn and Knebel combined on a one-hitter as Belmont dispatched of visiting Monticello 10–0 in six innings. Willborn sturck out five in four innings of work, while Knebel struck out two and walked four in her two innings in the pitching circle.
The Braves had just five hits of their own in the lopsided win, but drew 10 walks and stole nine bases.
Althaus again 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI double in Belmont’s four-run second inning. Senior second baseman Briana Ernst had a pair of RBI on a bases loaded walk and an RBI single in the Braves’ five-run fourth inning.
Belmont scored three runs in the top of the first inning on an Ernst RBI single and a two-run homer by Knebel, and never looked back in a 6–1 victory over Marathon.
Reuter added an RBI single in the fifth, and an RBI single in the sixth to make it 6–1.
Willborn struck out eight and allowed just one run on four hits and two walks.
Belmont closed out the day with a 4–2 victory over Platteville.
The Braves grabbed an early 1–0 lead on an RBI single by Ernst in the top of the first, and made it 2–0 an inning later when Ashley Knebel reached on an error and later scored on an error.
The shorthanded Hillmen, who played without sophomore starters Josie Nies and Sami Martin (both were playing in an AAU basketball tournament on Saturday), tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run single to left field by sophomore Kristen Lee.
Althaus led off the top of the seventh with at triple to right field to ignite the Braves’ game-winning rally. Willborn reached on an infield single to shortstop, but Althaus held at third.
Platteville intentionally walked Ernst to load the bases and play for a force at any base, but Nikki Knebel ripped a two-run line drive single to centerfield to make it 4–2.
Platteville pitcher Kaycie Wagner got out of the jam without further damage with a strikeout, and back-to-back ground balls, but the damage was done.
Senior Amber Lancaster reached on an error to begin the bottom of the seventh, but Willborn got Jordan Brunton and Wagner to pop out, then Lancaster was caught stealing third base to end the game.
Monday afternoon, Belmont’s Nikki Knebel (3x4) and Ashley Knebel (4x4) each homered in the 19–4 rout of River Ridge.
Belmont 5, Black Hawk 0
(from Thursday, April 19 @ South Wayne)
Belmont 103 001 0 — 5 11 0
Black Hawk 000 000 0 — 0 5 0
Leading hitters — Bel: Abby Althaus 3x4, Sadie Willborn 2x4, Nikki Knebel 2x4, BH: Natalie Leuzinger 2x3. 2B — Bel: Althaus, MacKensie Shellnut, Willborn.
W — Sadie Willborn (4–1, 7P, 5H, 0R, 7K, 1BB). L — Hannah Butler (7IP, 11H, 5R, 5ER, 4K, 0BB).
Belmont 10, Monticello 0
(from Friday, April 20 @ Belmont)
Monticello 000 000 — 0 1 2
Belmont 040 501 —10 5 0
Leading hitters — B: Abby Althaus 3x4. 2B — B: Althaus.
W — Sadie Willborn (5–1, 4P, 1H, 0R, 5K, 0BB). L — Brokopp (5.2IP, 5H, 10R, 4ER, 3K, 10BB).
Belmont 6, Marathon 1
(from Saturday, April 21 @ Belmont)
Belmont 300 012 0 — 6 9 0
Marathon 000 000 0 — 1 4 4
Leading hitters — B: Bri Ernst 2x3, McKenzie Reuter 2x4, Ashley Knebel 2x4; M: Breanne Karlen 2x3. 2B — B: Abby Althaus. HR Nikki Knebel.
W — Sadie Willborn (6–1, 7P, 4H, 1ER, 8K, 2BB). L — Hornung (5IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 6K, 2BB).
Belmont 4, Platteville 2
(from Saturday, April 21 @ Belmont)
Belmont 110 000 2 — 4 9 1
Platteville 000 200 0 — 2 10 3
Leading hitters — B: Abby Althaus 2x4, Sadie Willborn 2x3, Nikki Knebel 2x4; P: Amber Lancaster 3x4, Anica Graney 2x3, Brea Moon 2x3. 2B — B: Caitlyn Cushman, Callie Douglas. 3B — B: Althbaus.
W — Sadie Willborn (7–1, 7P, 10H, 2R, 2ER, 6K, 2BB). L — Kaycie Wagner (2–1, 3IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 5K, 2BB).
Belmont 19, River Ridge 4
(from Monday, April 23 @ Belmont)
River Ridge 010 30 — 4 3 6
Belmont 539 2x — 19 14 1
Leading hitters — RR: Moratvis; B: Briana Ernst 2x2, Nikki Knebel 3x4, Ashley Knebel 4x4. 2B — B: Ernst, A. Knebel, N. Knebel, Sadie Willborn. HR — B: A. Knebel, N. Knebel.
W — Willborn (8–1, 4.2IP, 2H, 1ER, 4K, 1BB). L — Vogt (2.1IP, 9H, 16R, 11ER, 0K, 5BB).