OTTAWA— This has not been a very good week so far for the Marquette Academy softball squad.
After surrendering 25 runs and plating only one tally during losses to Morris and WFC on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, the Lady Crusaders struggled mightily again Wednesday afternoon, this time dropping a 12-1, six-inning contest to highly-touted Normal-University High at June Gross Field.
The Pioneers used a great pitching performance from sophomore Lauri Riddell to help keep Marquette at bay. In her first start of the season in the circle, Riddell allowed the Lady Crusaders just one run and three hits, while striking out three and walking only two.
The super soph also helped her own cause by leading her team at the plate as well, going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and a run batted in.
U-High (12-6) pounded out a total of 15 hits on the day against MA starting and losing pitcher Kelsey Kinney (6-6), who surrendered 10 earned runs and three walks along with ringing up five strikeouts.
All in all, the Pioneers were strong offensively up and down the lineup with nine players registering at least one hit, while seven scored one or more runs and tallied an RBI apiece throughout the balanced attack.
Marquette (6-10) now has given up 37 runs and scored only a pair during the nightmarish 72-hour stint.
"This has been a pretty rough last four ballgames, that's for sure," said MA coach Jack Thompson. "We didn't strike out that much today, but we also didn't put the ball in play with much authority. (Riddell) is a good pitcher and a good hitter. U-High's a pretty good ballclub overall up and down their roster."
U-High is coached by veteran softball guru Al Toliver, who came out of retirement this year to lead the Pioneers after better than 450 career wins and three state championships during 14 seasons at downstate Stanford Olympia.
Toliver's girls got going right away in the top of the first scoring two runs after Shannon Stuart (2-for-3, three RBI) blasted a two-run triple to left-center field to put U-High up 2-0 after just a half an inning.
The Lady Cru countered with their only run of the ballgame in the bottom of the frame.
Jessica Jessen led off with a walk, stole second and eventually came home on a wild pitch by Riddell.
But the Pioneers added a pair of unearned runs in the second, single markers in the third and fifth, followed by a huge six-run, five-hit sixth where Kali Riddell stroked an RBI double, Riddell laced a run-scoring triple and Chloe Hundman (3-for-4) bombed a two-run double.
"In her first game this season pitching for us, our sophomore (Riddell) had a pretty nice outing," Toliver said. "She also hit the ball well, as did all our girls today."
Shayna McBean (2-for-3) logged a double and a single, while Shannon Killelea had the only other hit for the Lady Crusaders with an infield single.
"This is just one we want to put behind us and move on," Thompson said. "Hopefully, our week can end on a better note Saturday when we play Aurora Central Catholic."
U-High 12, Marquette 1 (6 inn)
U-HIGH (12) — Hundman ss 4-0-3-2, Ky. McKeown c 3-2-2-1, K. Riddell 1b 4-1-1-1, L. Riddell p 4-1-3-1, Stuart 3b 3-0-2-3, Watson cr/3b 1-4-1-1, Supan cf 2-0-0-0, Edwards cf 1-0-1-0, Conklin lf 3-2-0-0, Cole 2b 2-1-1-0, Matheis 2b 2-0-1-1, Ke. McKeown rf 4-1-0-0. Totals 33-12-15-10.
MARQUETTE (1) — Jessen ss 2-1-0-0, Caputo 2b 3-0-0-0, M. Killelea cf 2-0-0-0, Whalen dp 3-0-0-0, S. Killelea c 2-0-1-0, Gama 3b 2-0-0-0, Rogowski 3b 0-0-0-0, Gerding 1b 2-0-0-0, Bongartz rf 2-0-0-0, Koetz rf 0-0-0-0, Kinney p 0-0-0-0. Totals 21-1-3-0.
U-High (12-6) 221 016 — 12 15 0
Marquette (6-10) 100 000 — 1 3 3
LOB — U-High 7; Marquette 4. 2B — Hundman 2, K. Riddell, L. Riddell, MacBean. 3B — L. Riddell, Stuart. SB — Jessen.
U-High ip r er h bb k
L. Riddell (W, 1-0) 6.0 1 1 3 2 3
Marquette ip r er h bb k
Kinney (L, 6-6) 6.0 12 10 15 3 5