After the game, Marysville sophomore Paige Ameel didn’t know how many strikeouts she just threw.
It’s hard to blame her for losing count – she ended up tossing 15 of them over seven innings.
Her strong work on the rubber was key in the 4-3 win over Port Huron, but no strikeouts were bigger than her last three. With the Big Reds threatening with the tying run on third and with no outs in the final inning, Ameel took matters into her own hands and struck out the side.
“Each game I go out and try to reach my goals, but it was a team effort too,” Ameel said.
Marysville’s Hannah Delor also gave the Vikings (3-0 overall) a huge game, going 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, including the game-winner in the fifth inning.
“She’s putting the ball in play and she really has a lot of confidence at the plate,” Vikings coach Ryan Rathje said. “She’ll be able to give us power all season.”
Lydian Sawdon also gave the Vikings two runs on the night.
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Port Huron (2-1) also had a few players shine, starting with Madeline Trombly’s two RBI and one run. Lindsey Kielbas also had two hits with a run.
Port Huron’s Ally Fetterly also showed how dangerous she can be as a leadoff hitter, starting the game with a bunt base hit, a steal and later scoring from third on a grounder to first.
“It’s awesome, and it’s that element you can add to a game that teams can’t defend,” Big Reds coach Chris Kozlowski said. “That speed element, it’s disruptive.”
Marysville didn’t respond until the third inning when Ameel hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Katie Lewandowski, who led off the inning with a triple. Delor then broke the tie with two outs on a hard grounder up the middle, bringing home Samantha Smith and Sawdon for a 3-1 lead.
The Big Reds bounced back in the top of the fourth with a sharp line drive by Trombly to bring in Kielbas from second base. The game was then knotted up again when Kaitlyn Newman hit in Trombly with two outs.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Delor racked up her third hit and scored Sawdon for a 4-3 lead.
“I feel like we have good depth out there,” Rathje said. “We have a deep lineup that can put the ball in play for us, and that’s the name of the game in softball.”
Despite the loss, Kozlowski is liking what he is seeing from his team so far in the early season. He said if the team can tighten up the defense, they can be poised for a promising year ahead.
“They never quit,” Kozlowski said. “At the end of the game we had a chance to win with a runner on second. We had that chance. We never quit, and that’s the kind of drive we are looking for.”