PHOTO: Panther shortstop Paxtyn Keleher is about to tag out an East Buchanan runner on a steal attempt May 29 in Monticello. (Photo by Pete Temple)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
It took three days, but the Monticello softball team finished out a sweep of East Buchanan to open the Tri-Rivers Conference portion of the schedule.
The Panthers (2-0 conference, 3-1 overall) started the doubleheader Wednesday, May 29, and threatening weather caused the game to be suspended in the fifth inning with Monticello leading 5-0.
Let by Erin Hosch and her 12 strikeouts, the Panthers closed out that win two days later, with the 5-0 score remaining intact. Hosch allowed just two hits.
“Erin hit her spots very well,” Monticello coach Tiffany Rave said. “In both games, we had excellent efforts from her.”
Kori Bohlken had a big game at the plate, batting 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the Panthers’ decisive four-run fourth inning. Paxtyn Keleher had an RBI double in the inning. Andrea Bone and Hosch also had doubles during the game.
Also on Friday, in the second half of the double-header, Monticello rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to win 7-4.
“We had a little bit of a rough start, but we came back on offense and hit the ball hard,” Rave said.
The Buccaneers took advantage of three Panther errors in the top of the first inning to score four times.
Monticello began its comeback in the fourth, when Bohlken and Hosch hit sacrifice flies, scoring Allison Kraus and Keleher, respectively.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers mounted a five-run rally. Lael Lubben hit a two-run double to tie the score 4-4, Bohlken followed with an RBI double, Hosch hit a sacrifice fly to score another run, and Mara Mescher singled home Bohlken for the final Panther run.
Hosch allowed no earned runs and four hits while striking out five over six innings. Hannah Thompson worked the seventh inning and retired three straight batters to close out the game and earn a save.
“We had some girls step into the lineup who don’t normally do that,” Rave said. “To have 15 girls we can put in the varsity lineup at any time is great.”