By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
A five-run sixth inning sparked the Monticello Panthers to a season-opening 7-3 softball victory over Anamosa Monday, May 21 in Anamosa.
It was one of two games the Panthers played last week to begin the 2012 campaign; the other was a 4-0 loss at Northeast May 24.
The Panthers (1-1) trailed Anamosa 3-1 after five innings, but put together three big hits after two were out to score five times. First, Paxtyn Keleher came up with the bases loaded and hit a two-run single. Taylor Aitchison followed with a two-run triple to right center field, and then scored on a double by Jordan Aitchison.
Monticello added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single by Kori Bohlken, scoring Allison Kraus, who had singled and stolen second base.
“It took us a little bit to get our offense going, but we had a very strong fifth inning,” Monticello coach Tiffany Kruse said. “We had a lot of nice base hits from multiple girls in our lineup, which was great to see.”
Jordan Aitchison finished 2-for-3 with two doubles. Keleher was 2-for-3, and Erin Hosch batted 2-for-4.
Hosch was the winning pitcher, allowing one earned run and striking out five in seven innings.
Northeast got the best of the Panthers on May 24 in Goose Lake, however, as Rebel pitcher Emily Franks tossed a no-hitter.
The Panthers made plenty of contact – not a single Monticello player struck out – but had just one base runner for the game, on a walk to Hosch in the fifth inning.
The teams were scoreless through five innings, until Northeast had a five-hit inning in the sixth to take a 4-0 lead.
Hosch pitched and took the loss.
“Erin hit her spots very well and threw a great game for us,” coach Kruse said. “Our defense looked very sound behind her. I was very happy with the level of softball that we played defensively.
“We also hit the ball hard all night, but hit it right at them.”
Monticello is scheduled to play on four consecutive days this week: at Bellevue May 29, at East Buchanan May 30, at home against Tipton May 31, and at home against Mount Vernon June 1.
PHOTO: Monticello pitcher Erin Hosch winds and delivers in the season-opening game at Anamosa May 21. (Photo courtesy of Daryl Schepanski, Anamosa Journal-Eureka)