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Runs aplenty for Benton/Shullsburg to open season
BENTON/SHULLSBURGS McKailah Strang (#1) drives this pitch into the gap for a double during their season opener against Cuba City at Bentons Swift Park on Friday, March 31. Strang went 3x4 at the plate with two doubles, four RBI and two runs scored in the Zephyr-Miners 16-13 victory over the Cubans.

    BENTON – The runs were coming in bunches for the Benton/Shullsburg softball team– and their opponents– during the opening week of the season.
    The Zephyr-Miners (2-2 overall) took to the diamond four times in four days, sandwiching victories over Cuba City at home on Friday, March 31, and River Ridge/Scales Mound in Scales Mound on Monday. April 3, in between a 0-2 showing at the Southwestern Invitational, on Saturday, April 1.
    The co-op banged out 19 hits en route to a 16-13 victory over the Lady Cubans in their season opener on Friday afternoon.
    Cuba City (1-2) grabbed an 8-6 lead with a six-run outburst in the top of the fourth inning, but Shullsburg/Benton answered right back with an eight-run rally in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead for good.
    The Cubans got back-to-back doubles by Sam Gantenbein, Courtney Busch and Kayla Stich to highlight their six-run turn at bat. Hattie Rennert scored twice in the fourth for the Zephyr-Miners, while Lily Carver hit two RBI singles and Jordan Busch bashed a two-run double for the hosts.
    McKailah Strang and Kindle Cook added key RBI doubles for the Zephyr-Miners in sixth inning to help seal the victory.
    Strang finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, four RBI and two runs. Busch went 3-for-4 with a double, four RBI and a run, while Rennert went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI.
    Cook was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and a RBI, and Carver went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run. Shay Soppe added two hits and three runs for the hosts, and Lydia Jones had a double and two runs.
    The Zephyr-Miners kicked off Saturday’s tournament against the defending WIAA Division 4 state runner-up Southwestern Wildcats and fell 14-4 in six innings, and then dropped a 13-2 decision to Lena/Winslow in their second game of the day.
    Rennert went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI against Southwestern. Strang added two hits and two runs, and J. Busch had two hits and a RBI for the co-op.
    Katie Fritz finished 4-for-5 at the plate with a home run, a double, three runs scored and two runs driven in. Claire Splinter went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and three runs, while Mya Runde added a home run and earned the win in the pitching circle for the Wildcats.
    Amber Brand was 3-for-5 and Chloe Riniker was 2-for-4, and each had two RBI and two runs scored for the ‘Cats.
    J. Busch led the Zephyr-Miners against Lena-Winslow, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI.
    Finally, at Scales Mound on a rainy Monday afternoon, the Zephyr-Miners evened their record by holding off a late rally by the host Hornets to hang on for an 8-7 win.
    Seven different players scored a run for the Zephyr-Miners, while five players drove in runs in the victory. Jones went 2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored to guide the seven-hit attack.
    Shullsburg/Benton pulled ahead of the Hornets by a score of 7-0 after scoring three times in the fourth frame and four times in the sixth.
    RR/SM broke through for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to 7-3, but the Zephyr-Miners added a key insurance run in the top of the seventh when Jones doubled, and then stole third base and home to push the lead to five.
    Her run would prove to be vital after the Hornets plated four runs in the bottom of the seventh to get back within a run. The hosts had the tying run on base with two down when Rennert got the final batter to ground out back to her in the pitcher’s circle to seal the victory.
    Rennert (2-1) surrendered three earned runs on six hits and six walks, while fanning five batters in the win. She also scored a run and drove in another in the game.
    J. Busch also had a RBI and a run for the Zephyr-Miners.
    Shullsburg/Benton has upcoming Six Rivers’ games at Monticello on Thursday, April 6, and at Belmont on Tuesday, April 11. Both games are scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

Cuba City…… 101  622  1 – 13  14  1
Bent/Shulls… 240  802  x – 16  19  6
Leading Hitters: CC– Jenna Droessler 2x5, Kiera Holzemer 2x5, Courtney Busch 4x5, Megan Hartl 2x4.  2B– Droessler, Holzemer, Sam Gantenbein, C. Busch (3), Kayla Stich, Hartl. B/S–  McKailah Strang 3x4, Hattie Rennert 3x5, Kindle Cook 3x4, Lily Carver 3x4, Jordan Busch 3x4, Shay Soppe 2x3. 2B– Strang (2), Busch, Lydia Jones.
WP- Rennert. LP- Annie Cerjek. S- J. Busch.
Bent/Shulls…… 202  000 –   4    9  7
Southwestern… 313  403 – 14  18  0
Leading Hitters: B/S– McKailah Strang 2x3, Hattie Rennert 3x3, Jordan Busch 2x3. 2B– Rennert. SW–  Katie Fritz 4x5, Ali Kruser 2x4, Amber Brand 3x5, Chloe Riniker 2x4, Claire Splinter 2x4. HR– Fritz, Splinter, Mya Runde. 2B– Brand, Splinter.
WP- Runde. LP-  Rennert.
Bent/Shulls……. 000  110 –   2  4  6
Lena/Winslow… 044  023 – 13  9  2
Leading Hitters: Jordan Busch 2x3.
WP- Guy. LP- Busch.
Bent/Shulls… 000  304  1 – 8  7  1
SM/RR………. 000  003  4 – 7  6  2
Leading Hitters: Lydia Jones 2x3. 2B– Jones.
WP- Hattie Rennert. LP- Brown.