(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
BENTON -- In a game filled with efficiency, it was the team that made the first mistake that ultimately paid the price.
An error by the Kelly Lady Hawks in the top of the eighth inning eventually led to the first and only run on Tuesday afternoon as the Twin Rivers Lady Royals came away with their first win against Kelly in the last three years in a 1-0 game.
"Anytime you can beat those guys, you've done something," Twin Rivers head coach Dustin Benson said. "I've been here three years in-a-row now and that's the first time we've got them. It's a big step for us."
A bunt by Twin Rivers' leadoff hitter, Chelsea Crain to start the eighth landed just three feet in front of the plate. A throw by Kelly catcher Kristen Vetter sailed wide of first baseman Jessica Worth and rolled down the right field line. Backing up the play like she was supposed to, Kelly right fielder Darby Backfisch rushed in to scoop up the errant throw but she too would have it scoot by allowing Crain to run all the way to third.
"It got away and she was thinking home all the way," Benson said of Crain. "I was thinking home too but I had to throw my hands up with no one out."
Crain scored later in the inning when the Lady Royals' starting pitcher, Cindy Nippe, grounded into a fielder's choice when Kaitlyn Glastetter tried turning a double play.
"I told the girls that it was probably going to come down to an error," Kelly head coach Melanie Heuring said. "I told them lets not let it be us, but, it turned out differently."
With a total of nine hits between the two teams, defense, in particular pitching, played a huge part in the one-run game.
Kristen Powell kept Twin Rivers off the base paths for the most part, while Nippe did the same for her Lady Royals.
Kelly had their best chances to score in the bottom of the first and the bottom of the sixth. Emily Grojean lead off Kelly's opening inning with a single and quickly stole both second and third. A bunt by freshman Jade Rampley was played perfectly by Nippe as she threw out Grojean at home trying to score.
In the sixth inning, Hailey Glastetter took first on a dropped third strike and was pushed to second by another Rampley bunt. Powell gave Kelly their fourth hit of the day to center, moving Hailey Glastetter to third and Powell to second on a throw to home. A swinging bunt by Kaitlyn Glastetter was scooped up by Twin Rivers (7-2) catcher Kelsey Snider and then thrown to first for the 2-3 putout.
"Both sides had their chances to score," said Benson. "Both defenses beared down. Both pitchers did a good job of hitting their spots."
Both Powell and Nippe went the full eight innings for their respective teams. Powell gave up five hits and one unearned run while Nippe gave up four hits.
For Kelly (8-3), coming up with that one big hit was the thorn in their side.
"We're struggling with our hitting a little bit," Heuring said. "We haven't been hitting in our last few games as much as I'd like. (Nippe) was keeping us off balance with her change up and we were swinging at some low ones.
"We definitely need to work on our hitting."
The Lady Hawks are scheduled to take on Cape Central today at 4 p.m. at Cape Central High School.
Twin Rivers 000 000 01 -- 1
Kelly 000 000 00 -- 0
WP -- Cindy Nippe. LP -- Kristen Powell.