BELMONT — The Belmont softball team remained unbeaten in league play with a pair of Six Rivers Conference victories last week.
Caitlyn Gilbertson and Ali Travis blasted home runs to lead the Braves to a key 13–3 victory over Six Rivers West rival Highland last Tuesday. Thursday afternoon, coach Jeff Hodgson’s club hammered host Pecatonica 21–4.
The Braves’ four-game win streak came to an end with a 4–3 non-conference loss at Oregon Friday night, but that one setback can’t take the shine of the Braves’ fantastic start to conference play.
Halfway through the league season Belmont is 11–4 overall and 7–0 in Six Rivers Conference games, two games ahead of Highland (8–6, 6–2 SRC).
The Braves will host Barneveld Thursday before hosting Potosi on Monday in league games. In between Belmont will travel to Poynette on Friday for the two-day Poynette Jamboree.
The Braves still have key games at Highland on May 16 and at Six Rivers East-leading Juda/Albany (9–4, 7–0) on May 19.
Belmont dominated last Tuesday’s game with Highland from the very beginning, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the first inning en route to handing the Cardinals their second league loss of the season.
Senior Paige Nolan tied the game at 1–1 with an RBI single. After a Nikki Knebel single, senior outfielder Ali Travis launched a three-run homer. Junior first baseman Caitlyn Gilbertson followed with a solo blast to center to make it 5–1.
Brook Knebel added an RBI single and Maddie Rand singled to plate Knebel to make it 7–1 and Nikki Knebel capped the eight-run rally with an RBI single — her second hit of the inning.
Belmont scored three runs on three Highland errors in the bottom of the fourth to put the 10-run mercy rule in effect.
Freshman Sadie Willborn (2–1) picked up her second win of the season, allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings. She struck out three and walked three.
Nikki Knebel went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs to spearhead the Braves’ 21–4 rout of Pecatonica on Thursday. Rand and Lydia Leahy each added two hits and a pair of RBIs for the winners.
Junor Paige Nolan (9–3) struck out 10 and allowed just one earned run on six hits in five innings to pick up her ninth win of the season.
In Friday’s loss at Oregon, the Braves took a 3–2 lead in the top of the seventh when freshman pinch runner Callie Weigel scored on a wild pitch, but the host Panthers plated two in the bottom of the seventh on Barteit’s walk-off two-out, two-run double to left field.
Belmont took a 2–0 lead in the top of the first on a pair of Oregon errors.
Belmont 13, Highland 3
(from Tuesday, April 26 @ Belmont)
Highland 100 20 — 3 7 3
Belmont 901 3x — 13 13 1
Leading hitters — H: McMannes 2x2, Rose 2x3; B: Maddie Rand 2x3, Paige Nolan 3x4, Nikki Knebel 2x4, Brianna Ernst 2x3, Caitlyn Gilbertson 2x3. 2B — H: McMannes; B: Gilbertson. HR — B: Gilbertson, Ali Travis.
W — Sadie Willborn (2–1, 5IP, 7H, 3ER, 3K, 3BB). L — Rose (1IP, 9H, 8R, 8ER, 1K, 2BB).
Belmont 21, Pecatonica 4
(from Thursday, April 28 @ Pectonica)
Belmont 514 56 — 21 11 3
Pecatonica 200 02 — 4 6 3
Leading hitters — B: Maddie Rand 2x4, Nikki Knebel 3x4, Lydia Leahy 2x3. 2B — B: N. Knebel, Rand; P: Moen; P: Moen 2x3, Shilling 2x3.
W — Paige Nolan (9–2, 5IP, 6H, 4R, 1ER, 10K, 0BB). L — McKeon (5IP, 11H, 21R, 16ER, 4K, 15BB).
Oregon 4, Belmont 3
(from Friday, April 29 @ Oregon)
Belmont 200 000 1 — 3 7 2
Oregon 000 200 2 — 4 10 2
Leading hitters — B: Paige Nolan 2x4; O: Klecker 2x4, Barteit 2x3, Knaack 2x3. 2B — O: Barteit 2.
W — Fluckiger (7IP, 7H, 3R, 1ER, 3K, 0BB). L — Paige Nolan (9–3, 2.2IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 1K, 0BB).