NORTH ROBINSON – For six innings, Bucyrus’s Toni Zeigler was locked in a pitchers’ duel with Colonel Crawford’s Sydney Studer.
One inning was Zeigler’s undoing. The Eagles plated three runs in the bottom of the second, capped by Kerri Reynolds’ two-run home run and Studer made it stand up for a 4-1 Northern 10 Conference victory over the Redmen at Chuck Huggins Field.
“This was a good pitchers’ duel between two very proud programs that have had a lot of success over the years,” Colonel Crawford coach Chuck Huggins said. “We’ve played a lot of great games against each other and this one was no exception.”
Colonel Crawford (9-2, 5-1 N10) touched Zeigler for six hits and three of them came in the second inning. Jada Klingenberger was safe on a bunt single with one out. She stole second and went to third on a wild pitch.
With two outs, Klingenberger scored on a passed ball. Abbie Bradshaw followed with a single and rode home on Reynolds’ blast over the left-field fence. All three runs scored with two outs.
“We do that a lot, getting two outs with runners on base and can’t get the crucial third out,” Bucyrus coach Jerry Hargis said. “You’ll get that with a young team.”
After that, each pitcher surrendered one run. The Eagles made it 4-0 with a run in the third. Alexus Burkhart led off with a single and Cassie Sager sacrificed her to second. Burkhart scored on a single by Lexi Hoepf.
Bucyrus (1-7, 1-5) answered that in the top of the fourth. Loarel Mollenkopf walked with two outs. Taylor Bryant was safe at first when a third strike got past the catcher and Roni Markley drove in Mollenkopf with a single.
“In the second inning, Jada manufactured a run with her legs,” Huggins said. “But I am very proud of Kerri Reynolds for getting into one and getting us two runs. A two-strike, two-out home run is huge.”
The Redmen only had one base runner after the fourth, a one-out single in the sixth by Jackie Gabriel. Zeigler retired the last seven Eagles batters, but it was not enough.
“My hat’s off to Colonel Crawford,” Hargis said. “They hit the ball better than we did tonight.”
Zeigler might have won on another night. The right-hander fanned 11 and walked no one, while giving up six hits.
But Studer scattered three hits for the Eagles, with six strikeouts and one walk. Bradshaw had two singles, while Burkhart, Klingenberger and Hoepf each singled to go with Reynolds’ dinger.
Ashton Hawkins, Markley and Gabriel had the three singles for Bucyrus.
Huggins was particularly impressed with this freshmen battery mates, Studer and catcher Karissa Rowlinson.
“Sydney and Karissa have been together since they were knee high to a grasshopper,” Huggins said. “They work very well together. It’s nice to see them reaping the benefits.”
“We had too many soft shots, we’re not squaring up to the ball,” Hargis said. “But we’ll steadily get better. I can tell by the way they play. This is a fun group to coach.”
“When you play for championships, you have to take care of business at home,” Huggins said. “And it’s always good to get a conference win.”