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Hornets fall 8-7 to Bison in 2018 opener

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BAUMGARDT: Rossville junior Emma Baumgardt hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to cut a deficit to one run, but the Hornets could not tie or overtake the Bison.
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HUFFMAN: Rossville senior Darci Huffman plays a ball off the hop in right field during the Hornets season-opening game versus the Benton Central Bison.
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LAWSON: Rossville second baseman Emma Lawson get her glove under the ball for an out.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Hornets softball team fell just short of winning their season-opening game versus Benton Central on Friday night, losing 8-7 to the Bison on a chilly and sometimes snowy evening at Rossville.

“I think, overall, Friday was a good measuring stick for us against a Class 3A team,” Rossville head coach Amanda Szabela said. “For being a season open in less than stellar conditions, it was definitely a test.”

Benton Central scored the first run of the game when Kaelin Minniear crossed the plate on a single to right field by Stephanie Cummings, but the Hornets answered with a big bottom if the first inning.

Allison Hunter reach on a single to lead Rossville off before Cassidy Underwood doubled to center field, setting the table for fellow-senior Maggie Deboy, who hit an inside-the-park home run to center field to give the Hornets the 3-1 lead. Cory Taylor followed that big hit up with a triple to right field and then scored on a double to center by Emma Baumgardt.

Still with no outs and suddenly trailing 4-1, Benton Central replaced their starting pitcher with Stephanie Cummings, who would settle things down for the Bison. But, before they got out of the inning, Mikayla Lynch came in as a courtesy runner for Baumgardt and scored on a Darci Huffman single to right field.

After the Hornets pushed their lead to 5-1, Cummings struck the next two batters out and got the third to pop-out to third base.

With Cummings pitching well for the Bison, neither team could score until the top of the fifth inning when a pair of errors and a Cassidy Minniear double helped Benton Central pull even with the Hornets at 5-5. Then, in the top of the sixth, the Minniear sisters struck again. A double by Cassidy and an inside-the-park home run by Kaelin gave the Bison an 8-5 lead.

“As the game continued, we kind of got complacent,” Szabela said. “When they switched pitchers, I think we had the lead and got comfortable a little bit.”

Rossville made a valiant effort to recover in the last-chance bottom of the seventh. After Taylor led off with a single to right field, Baumgardt hit the ball over the left-field fence to trim the margin to 8-7 with no outs.

“I think I have seen hit out of that park like that before, but that was by Madison Douglass a couple of years ago,” Szabela said.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, Cummings settled down to strike out the next batter and got the next two after that to ground out to escape Rossville with the come-from-behind win.

Baumgardt batted 2-4 with a home run, a double, three RBIs and a run scored in the loss while Taylor went 3-4 with a triple and two runs scored, Deboy went 1-3 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored, Underwood went 1-4 with a double and a run scored, Huffman went 1-4 with an RBI, Allison Hunter went 1-3 with a run scored, and Lynch scored as a courtesy runner.

Baumgardt struck out four and walked two while allowing five earned runs and nine hits in seven innings for the Hornets.

“Weather was a factor in the game, but we can learn from our mistakes, learn from those and continue to move forward,” Szabela said.

The Hornets travel to Wolcott on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. game versus the Tri-County Cavaliers.

“We will keep building on what we are doing,” Szabela said. “We are putting the ball in play. We just need to be consistent in pushing runs across. Defensively, we have some young players in different positions. But we will build up on what we’ve got.”


At Rossville


Benton Central 100 043 0 - 8 9 1

Rossville 500 000 2 - 7 9 4

Rossville ab r h bi

A. Hunter 3 1 1 0

C. Underwood 4 1 1 0

M. Deboy 3 1 1 3

C. Taylor 4 2 3 0

E. Baumgardt 4 1 2 3

D. Huffman 4 0 1 1

E. Lawson 4 0 1 1

C. Fadness 3 0 0 0

S. Borders 3 0 0 0

M. Lynch 0 1 0 0

Totals 32 7 9 7

Benton Central ab r h bi

C. Minniear 4 2 2 3

K. Minniear 4 3 2 2

C. Gerlach 4 0 0 0

S. Cummings 4 0 2 2

K. Cummings 3 0 0 0

S. Ward 4 0 0 0

A. Boudreau 4 1 1 0

L. Tompkins 4 1 1 0

K. Senesac 2 1 1 0

Totals 33 8 9 7

Pitching ip h r er bb so


E. Baumgardt, L 7 9 8 5 2 4

Benton Central

C. Gerlach 0.0 5 5 5 0 0

S. Cummings, W 7 4 2 2 3 11