Most people would have had trouble wiping the smile off the face of Savannah Collo on Tuesday afternoon.
Even though the junior’s two-run homer wasn’t critical to Benton’s 16-1 District 1-4A victory over Loyola at the Lady Tigers’ complex, it meant a lot to the Benton first baseman.
“I’ve been in a slump, so it felt good to get this,” Collo said. “It was a inside, high pitch on a 1-0 count.”
Collo’s blast, her second of the season, came in the third inning and plated Yancey Cox, who had reached on a single. It pretty much put an end to the game by the run-rule.
“We wanted to come out and play hard to get ready for a tough week next week,” Benton coach Michelle Owens said. “It was a good win for us and makes us 3-1 in district.”
The Lady Tigers (13-10, 2-1) got all the runs they needed in the first inning when Samantha Maranto, Taylor Thompson, Gabby Kespelher, Chelsea Rangel, Yancey Cox, Alyssa Malone and Abi Cole reached on singles and scored to give Benton a 7-0 lead behind the pitching of Kespelher and Sarah Koeppen.
In the second inning, Brittany Craig, Maranto, Thompson, Kespelher, Cox and Colo put six hits and six more runs on the board for the Lady Tigers. Kathryn Scrivener, who took the loss on the mound, scored Loyola’s only run when she doubled and scored on a Benton error.
“Benton was really rapping the ball today and they were very fast on the bases,” Loyola coach Kristen Cole said. “We weren’t in a good spot mentally. But I feel confident that we will rebound against Fair Park on Thursday, plus we play Southwood tomorrow.”
Meredith Waltman and Gabby Brumfield also had hits for Loyola (7-14, 2-1), which lost in district for the first time.
Owens said it was important for her team to pick up the win to keep pace in the league race.
“We had some tough games earlier, playing St. Amant in Sulphur, but our freshman pitcher (Koeppen) has done well,” she said. “Playing up will make us better heading to the playoffs.”