It took until the bottom of the 8th inning for the Central College softball team to collect its second hit of the game last night against Cornell College in the opening round of the Division III Pella Regional, but Katie Canney’s walk-off single to deep right field was all the Dutch needed to earn a 1-0 victory. Dutch hurlers Kelsey Stender and Mallory Scheulenberg matched zeros with Rams’ ace Jackie Sernek, with Canney’s winning blow finally breaking the tie by plating Heidi Reburn. The extra inning heroics likely couldn’t have happened if Scheulenberg didn’t come up with the games biggest pitch. Cornell had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning, and a full count on the batter. To make matters worse, rain had been pouring in, making it difficult to grip the ball. Central Coach George Wares, reluctant to give up control, did just that in the crucial spot.
“I just told (senior catcher) Caitlyn (Meyer), call a time out. Everybody who watches knows we usually call the game from the dugout. I said ask her what she wants to throw and throw it, because you’ve got to really make sure the pitcher knows what she wants and let her believe in that. She came inside fastball, and it’s like we won the game there.”
Schuelenberg earned the victory in relief of Stender, as the two underclassmen combined for 8 innings of work, just 1 hit allowed, two walks and nine strikeouts. Up next for Central is Fontbonne, a 5-2 winner over Augustana yesterday afternoon. Wares says that it will be another difficult task.
“Probably overall, the pitcher we faced today is a little tougher, but Fontbonne from top to bottom probably has a little more pop offensively and has some speed they’re going to use. It’s going to be a tough one, but you expect it to be. I’m just glad we’re playing at 4:00 (in the winner’s bracket) and not at 12:00 (in an elimination game).”
Game time is scheduled for 4:00 this afternoon, and you can listen to the action live on 92.1 FM KRLS or worldwide at www.kniakrls.com, beginning with our Pella Motors.com Pregame Show about 15 minutes before first pitch.