It was a historic first for the Peru State College (PSC) Bobcat softball team as they won their first-ever Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) game.
The Bobcats shutout the visiting MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) Pioneers in game one of a double header 3-0 to claim the win. And the ‘Cats made things even sweeter in the second game by pulling off a dramatic comeback as they erased a four-run deficit to win 5-4.
With the wins, the Bobcats are 2-0 in the HAAC and 18-11 overall. MidAmerica Nazarene is now 0-2 in the HAAC and 9-8 on the season.
Game One Action
Sophomore hurler Devon Massengale (Elkhorn), along with her catcher Emily Maresh (Central City), put together an excellent pitching experience. The Pioneers had few scoring opportunities and when they did, the Bobcat defense stiffened and held them out.
In the second, after two outs, Peru State scored its first run. Brittany Hoock (Elkhorn) reached on a walk and went to third on Stephanie Holdsworth’s (Bennet) single down the right-field line. Toni Blackwell (Papillion) singled down the left-field line driving in the first run in the Bobcats’ HAAC opener.
The third inning was similar as the Bobcats did not score until after the first two outs. Devin Choate (Beatrice) doubled to deep left-center and then came home when Kristen Bodyk (Paris, Ontario, Canada) doubled to deep right-center. At that point, the Bobcats had a 2-0 advantage.
Miranda Lyndes (Peyton, Colo.) hit her second homer of the year on a 0-0 count in the bottom of the fifth over the left-field fence putting the final tally on the board for PSC.
The Pioneers tried to make it interesting in the top of the seventh and had runners on the corners with just one out before Massengale struck out the last two batters to end the game.
Holdsworth went two for two to lead the batters while Lyndes, Bodyk, and Blackwell each had one RBI. Massengale held the Pioneers to just three hits and struck out ten while improving to 6-2 on the season.
Game Two Action
After the Pioneers had scored one run in the third, two runs in the fifth, and one in the top of the seventh to take a 4-0 lead, it looked pretty bleak for the ‘Cats. However, good coaching led to disciplined batting as the Bobcats got either walks or timely hits to pull off the comeback.
Maresh started things off by getting a walk and went to second when Hoock singled thru the hole at second base. At that point, MNU made a pitching change, but it did not deter the ‘Cats. Holdsworth came through with a single up the middle driving in Maresh with Hoock going to second. Abbie Moser (Lincoln) came in as a courtesy runner for Holdsworth which was followed by a walk being issued to Blackwell to load the bases. After the first out of the inning, Massengale entered as a pinch hitter and
Page 2 of 2 - single down the left-field line driving in Hoock and Moser with Blackwell stopping at second. At that juncture, the Bobcats trailed 4-3.
Tesla Oldfield (Nebraska City) re-entered for Massengale and on a wild pitch, Blackwell and Oldfield advanced a base. Lyndes then loaded the bases with a walk. Choate, after being hitless in three previous attempts, came to the plate and singled thru the hole at shortstop that drove in Blackwell to tie the game at 4-4. Bodyk ended the game with a single to deep left with Oldfield scoring and the Bobcats prevailing 5-4.
Hoock went two for two in the second game while Massengale’s key hit in the seventh gave her two RBI with Choate, Bodyk and Holdsworth each adding one RBI.
Lauren Johnson (Seward) started the game on the hill for Peru State and threw four innings, giving up six hits and three runs – all earned. Johnson struck out one. Lyndsay Drumm (Bennington) came in to pitch in the top of the fifth and threw the final three innings. Drumm, the eventual winner, scattered four hits and gave up one earned run, while striking out one Pioneer. With the win, Drumm improves to 3-5 on the year.
The Bobcats are back in HAAC action this weekend hosting two more conference foes on Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1.
On Saturday, the Evangel University Crusaders will be the opponent. Then, on Sunday, the Central Methodist University Eagles will travel to Peru to play at the Centennial Complex Softball Field. Game time both days is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Tuesday, April 4, the Bobcats will play a non-conference double header when former conference foe, the College of St. Mary, will visit Peru with that double header scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.