WARRENSBURG -- It was a rocky start for Tuscola softball Friday.
The Warriors watched six Warrensburg-Latham runners score in the bottom of the first in a Central Illinois Conference softball game.
But the Warriors continued to fight, chipping away at the Cardinals' lead with four runs of their own in the second and two more in the third, going on to win 12-9.
For Tuscola (11-3) coach Lenny Sementi, part of the Warriors' early-game difficulties were due to the breezy conditions.
"We struggled through the first inning with the wind. It was a tight strike zone with the umpire and we ended up giving up those six runs in the first," he said. "But we really fought our way back to get the win."
Tuscola's Ashton Smith picked up the win after coming in during the first inning in relief. She struck out 11 and allowed one earned run over seven innings.
"Ashton did a nice job of coming in off the bench to pitch," Sementi said. "We had a couple of big hits from Isabelle Shelmadine, Alexis Koester and Kaitlyn Reifsteck that really fueled on of our rallies."
Shelmadine went 3-for-5 with a double and home run and knocked in three RBIs. Koester hit 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Reifsteck smacked two doubles and had a RBI.
Allana Hayes hit a grand slam for Warrensburg-Latham in the explosive first inning. Baylee Closs went 3-for-3 with a triple and three runs scored for the Cardinals.
Tri-City/Sangamon Valley 3, Maroa-Forsyth 2
BUFFALO -- It was a softball fan's dream Friday as Tri-City/Sangamon Valley's Kaitlynn Spain faced Maroa-Forsyth's Kate Beckemyer in a meeting of two of the area's best pitchers.
In a back and forth game, Tri-City (12-0) orchestrated a seventh- and eighth-inning comeback to squeeze out a one-run win.
Maroa took an early 1-0 lead on a Kaylee Robinson double that scored Hallie Mitchell in the first inning and the Trojans tacked on another run in the sixth when Beckemyer singled in Kate Aupperle.
TCSV began its comeback in the bottom of the seventh when Kenzie Krider tripled and drove in Shayla Mills. Ashlyn Morlock followed that by knocking Krider to send the game into extra innings.
In the bottom of the 8th, Taylor Page walked and advanced to second on a bunt single by Anna Sagle. Spain then pushed a bunt through the right side of the Trojans' infield which allowed Page to score and win the game 3-2.
TCSV coach Brad Sturdy had high praise for the Trojans' (8-4) pitcher.
"I thought Kate Beckemeyer was great for them. She did a great job moving the ball around and keeping us off balance until we made a couple of key hits in the seventh and eighth," he said. "I'm really proud of our girls and the way they stepped up in the end."
Spain improved to a perfect 9-0 on the season.
"Kaitlynn did a great job for us tonight. She was hitting her locations and she moved the ball around and changed speeds. I was really proud of her as well," he said. "It was a fun softball game. It's good to finally get good games in after all the cold weather."
Tuscola 21, Warrensburg-Latham 3
WARRENSBURG -- Tuscola's Noah Pierce struck out 10 and picked up the win as Tuscola beat its Central Illinois Conference rival Warrensburg-Latham.
"Noah threw a terrific game for us. He was ahead in most counts and able to keep his pitch count down," Tuscola coach Duff Hoel said. "He didn't walk anyone and the hits he gave up were well after we had the game under control."
Hoel was happy with his team's offensive production.
"We hit several balls hard tonight and some of them were able to find the gaps. We had three triples and Cale Sementi was able to get one into the jet stream for a home run," he said. "We had a nice approach in the box and took advantage of pitches up in the zone. This was a complete team effort for the win against a quality opponent."
Tuscola's Andrew Erickson was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Tyler Meinhold was 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Okaw Valley 15, Cerro Gordo 0
CERRO GORDO -- Okaw Valley pitchers Austin Harshman and Trey Yarnell combined to keep Cerro Gordo hitless and the Timberwolves won in three innings in a Little Okaw Valley Conference meeting.
The pitching duo also had a good day at the plate as Harshman went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Yarnell was 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Okaw Valley coach Andrew Hagerman was happy with his team's patience at the plate.
"I thought we played well. We had a good approach at the plate. We were very selective and it ran the pitch count up on their starter," he said. "We pretty much did that one through nine in the order and we got big hits at the right time."
Sam Hagerman was 2-for-4 with four RBIs and Hayden Francisco had a double and an RBI for Okaw Valley.
The Timberwolves improved to 10-0 and will play Shelbyville at 10 a.m. Saturday
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