LANCASTER — Last Thursday’s chilly pitcher’s duel turned into a nail-bitting sluggfest.
Belmont scored a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning, that proved to be just enough in a 7–6 non-conference victory at Lancaster’s Memorial Park.
The Braves were in complete control through four-and-a-half innings, but the Flying Arrows mounted a furious rally, scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning before Sydney Taylor flew out to center field to end the game.
“We made enough plays to get out of Lancaster with a win,” said Belmont head coach Jeff Hodgson. “I am happy about the win because Lancaster is a really good team. Coach (Katie) Landon has done a great job building this program she is the type of young coach softball needs.”
Belmont (3–1) took an early 1–0 lead in the top of the first when juniors Abby Althaus and Sadie Willborn smacked back-to-back doubles.
The Braves added another run in the top of the fifth when sophomore outfielder Ashley Knebel singled and later reached third on a passed ball and scored on a throwing error by the Lancaster catcher on the same play.
Lancaster (2–2) answered back with a pair of run in the bottom half of the inning, on an RBI double by senior Morelia Galvan and an RBI single by freshman Caitlynn Hahn.
Belmont regained the lead on an RBI single by Nikki Knebel in the sixth. Lily Ruiz added an RBI single to right field and Ashley Knebel’s bunt single allowed MacKenzie Reuter to score to make it 5–2.
Junior Callie Douglas ripped a two-run double to right field in the top of the seventh to give the Braves a commanding 7–6, but the host Arrows weren’t finished.
Galvan led off the bottom of the seventh with a booming 250-homer to left field that hit the Belmont bus parked well beyond the left field fence.
Hannah Riley reached on a one-out error, then Lindsey Wolf doubled to left. Brooklyn Connelly’s ground out to shortstop made it 7–4, and Katie Martin and Madison Straka followed with two-out RBI singles to make it a one-run game.
With the tying run on second, Willborn got Taylor to fly out to center on the very next pitch.
“We helped them out with a few errors, but Lancaster can really swing the sticks,” said Hodgson. “They can hit the ball and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them contend for the conference title in their league.”
Willborn (3–1) went the distance, allowing six runs, two earned, on 10 hits and two walks. She also struck out seven and helped her own cause with a 3-for-4 day at the plate. Ashley Knebel finished 2-for-2.
Galvan went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs to lead the Arrows.
Belmont’s home games with Mount Horeb on Friday and Shullsburg/Benton on Monday were both postponed due to inclement weather.
The Braves will try again Thursday at Black Hawk.
Belmont 7, Lancaster 6
(from Tuesday, April 10 @ Lancaster)
Belmont 100 013 2 — 7 10 6
Lancaster 000 020 4 — 6 10 1
Leading hitters — B: Sadie Willborn 3x4, Ashley Knebel 2x2; L: Morellia Galvan 3x4, C. Hahn 2x3, Katie Martin 2x4. 2B — B: Abby Althaus, Willborn, Callie Douglas, L: Galvan, Lindsey Wolf. HR — L: Galvan.
W — Sadie Willborn (3–1, 7P, 10H, 6R, 2ER, 7K, 2BB). L — Hannah Riley (5.1IP, 7H, 5R 4ER, 4K, 2BB).