COLLINS — Prairie City-Monroe’s two big innings overpowered Collins-Maxwell/Baxter’s five consistent innings Monday night.
PCM earned its eighth straight victory and remained undefeated by doing all of its damage early in a 10-5 defeat of CMB.
The Mustangs wiped out a 1-0, first-inning deficit by scoring five runs in the second and then repeating the feat in the next inning.
PCM knocked out seven singles in their two-inning outburst and benefitted from two walks and a CMB error. Four hitters drove in runs for PCM, led by freshman Katie VandeWall, whose second-inning, three-run home run gave her team a 5-1 advantage.
“Once one person starts going, we all kind of get going,” VandeWall said. “We do it as a team and it’s really, really fun to be around.”
VandeWall finished the game with a team-high and personal season-high three hits. Her four RBIs more than doubled her season total from three to seven.
“I thought she did great. We just take turns and girls get great hits,” PCM head coach Whitney Plein said. “Katie was seeing the ball well and hit really well.”
Outside of those two innings, CMB out-played the Mustangs, but was never able to recover and cut into PCM’s lead. CMB had base runners in every inning and, excluding the second and third innings, had six hits to PCM’s three.
CMB starting pitcher Heather Jessen settled down after PCM’s bats lit up the scoreboard early. Jessen allowed only four base runners from the fourth inning on, one of which reached on an error, and only one PCM hitter advanced beyond first base.
Meanwhile, CMB had at least one runner reach scoring position in every inning from the fourth through the seventh.
“I told [our players], I said we won five of the seven innings. The problem is our other two innings weren’t good innings,” CMB head coach Troy Houge said. “We didn’t play well for two innings and that was the difference in the game.”
Junior Racheal Freland and improved defensive play as the game progressed also factored into PCM’s victory. Freland pitched a complete game and tied her season high with six strikeouts en route to her fourth win of the year.
The left-hander got into a bit of trouble in the fifth as CMB’s Payge Jurgens and Abby Applegate started the inning with a single and a double. After a sacrifice fly from Mikayla Eslinger trimmed PCM’s lead to 10-5, Mustang second baseman Abby Waddell turned an impressive unassisted double play to end the inning.
Waddell, a freshman making her third varsity start, single-handedly put an end to CMB’s threat after she committed an error in the second inning and failed to control a ground ball in the fourth that would’ve resulted in the third out.
“She was probably nervous, but she stepped up right there,” Plein said of Waddell’s play in the fifth. “That’s good for her. I’m proud of her.”
The five runs CMB scored were the most PCM has allowed so far this season, but the Mustangs’ own offense more than made up for it.
Senior Krystal Pendroy finished 1-for-3 with three RBIs and Abbi Gilson and Jayci Vos both extended their hitting streaks to eight games.
“When girls come up to the plate, they get hits and do what they need to do,” Plein said. “It just happened to click for us in the first two innings.”