By J.W. Campbell, Sportswriter
The Triad softball team has three standard goals each year, to win 20 or more games, to claim a Mississippi Valley Conference title and to win a regional. Last week, the Lady Knights reached two of those three goals.
On Thursday, May 16, Triad overwhelmed Murphysboro 15-5 to notch its 20th win of the year. The next day, a 6-0 road win over Waterloo gave the Lady Knights an undisputed conference title.
Against Murphysboro, the Lady Knights banged out 21 hits and scored in every inning in a game that went six frames and ended on the 10-run mercy rule.
Five Triad hitters finished with three hits in the game, including Payton Bode, Jenna Bohnenstiehl, Kailey Daniel, Liz Young and Dallas Zirkelbach. Bode also had three RBIs in the contest, while Bohnenstiehl scored four runs and Zirkelbach drove in two runners.
Shiane Taylor went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and Ella Moore homered and drove in two runs.
Against Waterloo, The Lady Knights got a two-hit shutout from Young. She struck out seven in the game and walked two.
Young also went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
Other offensive contributors included Daniel, who went 4-for-4 with a run scored. Caroline Lehan, had two hits and an RBI. Isabelle Lehan and Ella Moore each drove a Triad run.
“The girls played really well on Friday and did a good job of keeping their composure,” Triad Coach Kris Kleeman said. “Coach Butler, Coach Greer and Coach Hayes were in charge of the game while I went to Charleston to watch my daughter run in the state track meet. I cannot say what a tremendous luxury it is to have coaches who can do that for you. It gives me a little breathing room to put my mom hat on when I need to.
“I was able to make it to the Waterloo game, but by that time is was already 5-0. We have been talking about making adjustments at the plate with different types of pitchers. Waterloo threw three different ones at us and we were still able to hit the ball well.”
Triad missed an earlier chance to lock up sole possession of first place in the MVC when they fell 10-3 to the Civic Memorial Eagles on Wednesday, May 15 in Troy.
In the contest against the Eagles, Triad held a brief 1-0 lead on a solo homer by Payton Bode in the bottom of the fourth.
Civic Memorial responded with six runs in the top of the fifth to take a lead it would never surrender. The frame began with a single to right by Malena Wade. One out later, Kelbie Zupan singled to put two runners on ahead of Gracie Braun, who doubled both home, giving CM a 2-1 edge. The inning continued with a two-run homer by Jenna Christeson that made it 4-1 Eagles. Rebecca Harkey singled in front of Ally Hardy, who finished the inning’s scoring action with a two-run, home run down the left field line.
Triad closed the gap to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth. The stanza began with a single to left by Caroline Lehan. After Jenna Bohnenstiehl reached on a fielder’s choice that forced Lehan at second, a two-base error by the Eagles allowed a run to score. The other run of the inning came home on a ground out by Liz Young.
The Eagles batted around for the second time in the game in the top of the seventh, when they scored four times. Coming up with RBI singles in the frame were Zupan and Hardy. Allison Hallstead drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk, while a Triad error allowed a fourth run to score.
Braun was the winning pitcher for the Eagles. She gave up two earned runs on four hits and three walks. She fanned two Lady Knights.
Young was the pitcher of record for Triad. She suffered through a rare poor outing, giving up 10 runs on 10 hits and four walks. She fanned six hitters in 6 1/3 innings of work.
Ella Moore pitched the final two-thirds of an inning for Triad. She gave up no runs on one hit.
Hardy paced the CM offense with two hits, two runs scored and three runs batted in.
Christeson went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Triad’s four hits were evenly split between Caroline Lehan, Bode, Daniel and Dallas Zirkelbach, who had a bunt single in the second.
Triad ended its season with a 5-1 loss to Rochester at the Taylorville Tournament. The Lady Knights only run came on a home run by Shiane Taylor in the seventh.
Regional action was slated to start for Triad on Tuesday, May 21 at the Civic Memorial regional against either CM or Mascoutah. Results of that game were not available at press time.
“We are excited about being the one seed in the regional and hope to keep playing far into the post season,” Kleeman said.