By michael boyd jr.
Valle Catholic pulled off the biggest win of its young softball season with a rally for the ages against Potosi ace Sami Huck last Thursday evening at Challenger Park Field.
Kelsey Blum scored on a passed ball for the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Warriors grabbed their second surprising win of the week for a 3-2 decision.
Blum previously had singled to start the extra frame, then moved to second base on a single by Addison Donze.
A passed ball allowed Blum to take third base, and that was followed by another passed ball for her to steal this conference contest in dramatic fashion over the Trojans, who took second place at that MSHSAA championships last spring.
Huck, who recently signed a national letter of intent to pitch at the University of Missouri – a k a Mizzou – in Columbia next season, had just two bad innings (rare in her case) on this night that spoiled one of her most dominant performances in the circle.
Huck struck out 20 Warriors and held a 2-0 lead heading into the seventh inning.
However, Macy Wolk singled home Ade Weiler, then Emily Flieg singled in Wolk to tie the game at 2-all and force the extra inning.
The Trojans (4-3, 2-1 MAAA) scored both of their unearned runs in the second inning, but the remainder of regulation was a pitchers’ duel for the most part.
Winning pitcher Abree Zipprich, a freshman who’s starting to find her groove, was surprised more than anyone, expecting the loss early on. Zipprich struck out seven Trojans, while allowing two unearned runs on four hits and a walk to find herself the victor.
Zipprich also was the winning pitcher in the Warriors’ surprise victory against crosstown rival Ste. Genevieve three days earlier.
Huck allowed five hits and walked no one. Also three days earlier, she struck out 18 batters in a two-hit shutout of conference foe West County Bulldogs. She’s that dominant, which is why this win is huge for the Warriors (3-1, 2-1).
The Warriors home conference contest with West County this past Monday was cancelled after the death of WCHS junior Katlynn Newhouse from a car accident over the weekend. It is the school’s second such tragedy in less than two years.
The Warriors visit MAAA rival Arcadia Valley Tigers at 4 p.m. Wednesday, then host nonleague foe Woodland Cardinals at 4 p.m. Thursday. On Saturday, they host both the Malden Green Wave and the Bernie Mules.
n Neelyville 15, Warriors 0: Valle Catholic ran into a buzzsaw Tuesday suffered a rough home loss to the Tigers. No other details were available as of press time.
Neeleyville is a small town south of Poplar Bluff around Naylor and Doniphan.
n Warriors 8, Dragons 3: Abree Zipprich struck out nine Dragons and her softball squad backed her up with a steady offense that exploded in the end for town bragging rights last Monday (Mar. 28).
Zipprich gave up four hits and was little wild at times as she walked three and hit two batters, but effective enough to power Valle Catholic over Ste. Genevieve in the crosstown showdown at Leon Jokerst Field. The game also was a Mineral Area Activities Association conference matchup.
“A big win for our program,” Warriors head coach Kurt Basler said.”We played a good game defensively and hit the ball pretty well. Abree pitched really well. She was hitting her spots and kept a good Ste. Gen team off balance for most of the game.”
The Warriors (2-1, 1-1 MAAA at the time) outhit the host 10-4 and had five doubles in the game as they gave previously unbeaten ace Faith Lincoln fits midway in the game.
Lincoln, who was clearly bothered by an injury to her left (pushoff) leg, left the game after four innings, but freshman Ava Greer faired no better in relief for the Dragons (2-3, 1-2), who also committed three errors.