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SOFTBALL: Lady Warriors start season 2-2, Elllingsworth optimistic
INA, Ill. – Rend Lake College softball started up this past weekend with a 2-2 start, dropping two games in the season opener 10-5 and 16-3 with St. Charles Community College and just sweeping Cardinal Stritch University 3-2 and 4-3 on a walk-off single by freshman Kendyl Ahrens. Former RLC Assistant Coach Jade Geuther made her first trip back to The Lake as the new coach of CSU.
Sophomore Hannah Thompson (Jackson, Mo.) got her first win on the mound in the first game against Cardinal Stritch. She struck out one batter with Corinne Wildeman (Mt. Vernon, Ind.) catching and is now 1-1. The Lady Warriors scored one run in the first, one in the second and one in the fourth for three runs on six hits and one error. CSU scored two runs in the fifth on seven hits and one error.
For RLC, Kate Weaver (Carmi) went 1-2, Samantha Watkins (Johnston City) went 1-1, Ahrens (Poseyville, Ind.) went 1-2 with a RBI, Wildeman went 1-2, Emily Cripps (Herrin) was 1-1 with a RBI and a walk, and Chelsea Steele (McLeansboro) went 1-2 with a RBI.
BOX SCORE GAME 1 vs Cardinal Stritch University
CSU -- 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 1
RLC -- 1 1 0 1 0 0 3 6 1
In the nightcap, CSU scored one run in the first inning, one in the sixth and one in the seventh for three runs on two hits and one error. RLC scored one run in the sixth and three in the seventh for four runs on nine hits and two errors.
In the bottom of the seventh, down 3-1, freshman Molly Whaley (Benton) led off with a home run to make it a one-run game. Freshman Alaina Reeves (Mt. Vernon) flied out to left, Samantha Hicks (Elkville) singled and Weaver flied out to left. Down 3-2, Taylor Cicardi (Pinckneyville), pinch hitting for Misty Webster (Thompsonville), drew a walk and Watkins followed with a single to right-center field to load the bases with the tying run on third.
With two on and two outs, Ahrens drove a pitch to left-center, scoring both Hicks and Webster, who had re-entered for Cicardi.
For RLC, Sammie Quisenberry (Marion, Ky.) threw the first four innings and gave up one unearned run. Taylor Thomas (Arcola) pitched two innings, walking four, striking out two, throwing a wild pitch and giving up one unearned run. Freshman Erica Wilson (O’Fallon) pitched the seventh and got her first win. She walked two, and gave up a hit and an unearned run. She is now 1-0 from the mound.
Weaver went 1-3 with a run scored, Webster was 1-2 with a run scored, Watkins was 2-4, Ahrens went 1-2 with two RBI, Whaley was 1-3 with a home run and a RBI, Reeves was 1-3, Hicks went 1-2 and Breanne Pelker (Nashville) went 1-3.
BOX SCORE GAME 2 vs Cardinal Stritch University
CSU -- 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 2 1
RLC -- 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 4 9 2
After the game, RLC Head Coach Dave Ellingsworth commented on being on opposite sides of Geuther for the first time.
“We were glad to see each other,” he said. “In a short period of time, she became a really good friend. We have two very different coaching personalities. I’m more laid back and she is fire and brimstone. And those complemented each other while she was with our program.”
Dennis Johnson, a longtime softball assistant coach at RLC, also moved on this year. He is now the head coach of softball at Hamilton County Senior High School. Ellingsworth’s new assistant coaches are Tim Ricci, a retired instructor and basketball/softball coach at West Frankfort High School; and former Lady Warrior golfer Danielle Kaufman, who is also an assistant coach for RLC women’s golf.
“[Geuther] has inherited a team that has had some struggles,” Ellingsworth went on to say. “I thought she had some good athletes – a couple I’d recruit in a heartbeat - and she has been playing some really good competition down south. I think she is going to do well. She is going to have to be patient. That’s something that is hard for a 20—something year old coach who wants to win.”
Regarding his team’s play over the weekend, Ellingsworth said there is room for improvement, but he liked what he saw.
“Compared to last year, I’ve got more depth.”
Weaver, a 2011 All-Great Rivers Athletic Conference selection, has moved from third base to left field this year. Watkins, a returning All-NJCAA Region XXIV center fielder is still in center. Ahrens or Cicardi can play right field.
In the infield: First base options include Steele, Pelker or Cicardi; second base starts with Annie Borowiak (Nashville) and can be Laura Fleri (Mt. Vernon), Hicks or Whaley; short stop options are Webster and Hicks; and third base is covered by Cripps and Whaley.
Behind the plate, it’s Wildeman or Reeves. And RLC’s bullpen is much deeper this year with Thompson, Quisenberry, Pelker, Thomas and Wilson.
“We’ve got more pop in the bats this year too,” Ellingsworth said. “I’ve got six kids that can legitimately hit it out of the yard - Whaley, Watkins, Cicardi, Pelker, Wildemann and Thomas. And I’ve got some kids, like Weaver and Ahrens, who hit solid line drives. In our losses Saturday, Weaver had two line drive triples. I’m looking forward to hitting being better this year.”
RLC’s roster includes a great representation of players from high schools in the RLC district and on the outskirts. They include Mt. Vernon, Hamilton County Senior High, Benton, Pinckneyville, Thompsonville, Nashville, Johnston City, Elkville, Carmi and Herrin.
For all things athletic at The Lake, visit RLC online at www.rlc.edu/warriors.