Sarah Hughes of St. Mary’s Colgan had only a single at-bat in the second game of a doubleheader against the Independence Bulldogs. None proved more important than her one at-bat.
Hughes stepped up with the bases loaded and one out with a 14-13 score in the bottom of the eighth. Colgan once led 10-2 and possessed a five-run lead entering the seventh before Independence forced extras with a five-run rally.
Hughes roped one down the left-field line, scoring Amanda McBride for the tie and Abby O’Brien for the 15-14 win and split at Cheryl Stice Field.
“I guess we like to win in good fashion,” Colgan head coach Abby Farabi said. “When we played Baxter, we won on a walk-off home run (by Katelyn Flood) and I mean, Sarah Hughes. She batted once the first game and she really stepped up. I asked her before I put her in the box, ‘Are you going to hit the ball?’ and she said, ‘Yep.’ And she did.”
After struggling for half of the first game, Colgan quickly jumped ahead on Independence starting pitcher Shelby Corn in the nightcap. Corn walked the first three Colgan batters — Katie Kolarik, Emily Dickey and Madison Marietta — and the Panthers were able to score four runs on a single hit by O’Brien, a RBI single.
Independence managed only single runs in the first two innings against Colgan starter Faith VanBecelaere.
The Panthers gained a 10-2 advantage with six runs in the third. Marietta and McBride reached on walks, then scored on O’Brien and VanBecelaere RBI singles. O’Brien found a way to bunt one through the right side of the Bulldog infield to reach and score Marietta. Colgan scored its six in a variety of ways.
Independence kept chipping away on the Colgan lead and finally in the seventh, the Bulldogs exploded for five runs on five hits and one Colgan error. Kelsey Wilheim hit a RBI double to make it 12-10, then Lexie Wright tied it up with a two-run double, the third double of the inning.
Colgan nearly won on a potential walk-off hit by Marietta in the bottom of the seventh but left fielder Sierra Marquez robbed Marietta and the Panthers with a reaching catch.
The Bulldogs went ahead 14-12 with a two-run double by Jordan Sutton.
Katelyn Flood, who bashed a walk-off homer last Friday against Baxter Springs, led off the eighth with a double. McBride walked and O’Brien reached on an error which scored Flood. Ali Noyes walked to load the bases and two batters later, Hughes came off the bench to deliver her big hit.
Colgan started out flat in the opener and fell behind 7-0 after two innings. The Panthers struck out six times the first time through their lineup against Independence ace Bayley Allison.
Page 2 of 2 - “I was really disappointed,” Farabi said. “They came out flat and I noticed in warm-ups there was no energy. That’s one of my biggest things. You have to come out ready to play because that first inning we gave up five runs and we lost by five. You take away that first inning and we’re in the ballgame. We left way too many runners on and after the second inning, they relaxed and started having fun. It started coming easy for them.”
Colgan moved to 2-4 on the season with the Tuesday night split.
“They were picked first in the SEK (Southeast Kansas League) so that was a good quality win for us,” Farabi said.
Colgan baseball 3, Independence 2
Hits and runs were at more of a premium at JayCee Ballpark on Tuesday — the Panthers and the Bulldogs combined for five runs on nine hits.
Colgan senior leadoff man Nate Grimaldi led the Panthers with two hits and he picked up one RBI, as did Christian Cedeno and Drew Dawson.
The Panthers scored all three of their runs in the first two innings, two in the first and one in the second.
Dawson earned the win and V.J. Piccini pitched three innings for a save.
Colgan (3-3) owns a three-game winning streak and hosts a varsity/JV doubleheader Friday against Webb City.
Independence softball 11, Colgan 6
INDY 520 020 2 — 11 16 4
SMC 000 120 3 — 6 5 2
Bayley Allison and Lakin Palmer. Ali Noyes and Katelyn Flood. WP: Allison. LP: Noyes. E: Jordan Sutton, Bailey James, Allison, Amanda Freeman; Amanda McBride, Flood. 2B: Shelby Corn, Lexie Wright; Katie Kolarik. SF: Flood. SH: Sierra Marquez 2, Kelsey Wilheim; Emily Dickey. SB: Abby O’Brien. CS: O’Brien. HBP: Ali Noyes. LOB: INDY 7, SMC 7.
Colgan 15, Independence 14 (8 innings)
INDY 110 122 52 — 14 15 2
SMC 406 011 03 — 15 10 3
Shelby Corn, Bayley Allison (4) and Lakin Palmer. Faith VanBecelaere, Ali Noyes (5) and Katelyn Flood. WP: Noyes. LP: Allison. E: Jordan Sutton, Bailey James; Katie Kolarik, Taylor Bolinger, Amanda McBride. 2B: Corn 3, Sutton 2, Sierra Marquez, Kelsey Wilheim, Lexie Wright; Flood. SF: Amanda Freeman; Kolarik. SH: McBride. SB: Sutton; Abby O’Brien, Emily Dickey. CS: Wilheim. HBP: McBride, Brooke Main. LOB: INDY 8, SMC 5.
Colgan baseball 3, Independence 2
INDY 100 100 0 — 2 4 0
SMC 210 000 X — 3 5 0
Dalton Coda. Drew Dawson, V.J. Piccini (5) and Aaron Twarog. WP: Dawson. LP: Coda. SV: Piccini. 2B: Nate Grimaldi, Christian Cedeno. SF: Cedeno. SB: Courtlan Hayes; Colton Gilbert 2, Grimaldi, Austin Kratz, Dawson. CS: Dawson.