ST. JOSEPH — Greg Blakey has seen a lot in his 27-plus years coaching Mount Zion softball.
But on Wednesday, he saw a first. And he liked it.
The Braves began their game against Class 2A powerhouse St. Joseph-Ogden with three straight home runs — off the bats of Dayna Kennedy, Audrey Eades and Kynzie Wrigley — on their way to a 15-3 win to avenge a 21-6 loss to the Spartans last season.
"I have never seen a team hit three home runs to start off a game — that was a great start," Blakey said. "We came out swinging and had success with that."
The Braves put the game away with a seven-run third, but Eades — Mount Zion's starting pitcher — never let SJO into the game. She struck out nine in a complete-game performance despite being hit with a batted ball in the fifth inning.
"(SJO) has some powerful hitters and she held them in check," Blakey said. "She got hit in the ribs harder than I've harder than I have ever seen someone get hit, and she got back and continued to play the rest of the game. She held St. Joe at a bay and was a big part in this win.”
Also for the Braves, Kennedy went 4-for-5 with two home runs and a double and Ally Bruner went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.
Meridian 6, Central A&M 4
MOWEAQUA — Meridian stayed on top of the Central Illinois Conference by holding off a late Raiders rally.
Peyton Latham struck out seven to earn the win, and Anna Enlow had an hit and an RBI for the Hawks (17-2, 7-0 CIC).
"I thought we played OK — we knew A&M would be up for this game," Meridian coach Greg Streeval said. "I feel like it was for sure a team effort."
Tuscola 11, Clinton 1
TUSCOLA — Logan Tabeling continued what's been a dominant start to the season, striking out 15 and allowing just one hit.
Tabeling has now struck out 61 in 27 1/3 innings and has a 1.54 ERA.
"We played really well," Tuscola coach Adam Carver said. "Tabeling threw really well. He had an error in the beginning but after that he settled in."
Tabeling also went 2-for-4 with a double, Brayden Von Lanken went 4-for-4 with a home run, Jalen Quinn went 2-for-3 with a homer and Max Wyninger went 2-for-2 with a home run for Tuscola (17-2).
"Offensively we have been struggling, but they started to settled in and were hitting well," Carver said. "A couple of guys didn't have their greatest game, but I told them that they can't always have their best game.”