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St. Bede’s Barbi Prokup stretches for the throw to force Princeton’s Alisa Holmbeck out at first base Thursday during the Lady Bruins’ 10-0, five-inning victory at the Academy. NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
Hours after committing to continue her softball career at Division III Grinell College, the St. Bede senior catcher and lead-off hitter showed off her next-level skills with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate to help the Lady Bruins take a 10-0, five-inning win over NCIC rival Princeton at the Academy.
Stariha said it was good to keep on the winning track after a 2-1 setback Monday against Putnam County.
“We had a tough loss against Putnam County, but I really think we’ve come a long way throughout the season. We hope it keeps going up,” Stariha said. “It was a tough loss. Putnam County has a great program. Obviously, 2-1 in 10 innings, it was a really close game, but you want to win those.”
The Lady Bruins (12-4, 3-0 NCIC) loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning and couldn’t plate a run, but they broke through in the second with a pair of scores to take an early lead.
Nicole Yaklich started the rally with a single to center, and one batter later, Stariha joined her on base with a single of her own.
Lainie Schweickert, who picked up the win pitching, then started a wild sequence of events with an infield single.
After hitting the ball to shortstop and driving in Yaklich, Schweickert maneuvered to halfway between first and second base as the ball was relayed to PHS freshman pitcher Madison Menzel.
Menzel tossed the ball to second to try and catch Schweickert — who darted back to first — and Stariha broke for home, cruising in ahead of the throw to give the Academy a 2-0 lead it would not relinquish.
St. Bede added four runs in the fourth, taking advantage of a pair of PHS errors and an RBI single from Stariha, and closed out the 10 run-rule win with four more runs as part of a solid string of hitting in the fifth off PHS reliever Alisa Holmbeck.
Reserve Christine Daley started the big Lady Bruin fifth with a double to left, and Abbey Nowakowski followed with a double to center to drive her home.
Reserve Morgan Knoblauch added an RBI single, as did Tara Kunkel. Stariha reached on her third hit of the game, and Schweickert put the finishing touches on the victory with a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Kunkel for the 10th and final run.
Schweickert picked up the win on the rubber, throwing five innings of scoreless work with just one hit and four base runners allowed. She finished with six strikeouts and two walks.
Menzel was charged the loss after ceding six runs, none earned, off of nine hits with one strikeout and one walk.
For St. Bede, Mo Dean finished 2-for-3 with a double, Nowakowksi was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI and Kunkel was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
“I was proud to look down to the bottom of the order and see us get some runs and RBIs,” said St. Bede coach Bill Prokup, who got six hits and five runs from the 7-8-9 spots in his lineup. “It makes it hard for me as a coach because I’ve got 12-13 girls and they’re all hitting the ball. It’s great to see.”
Mollie Bates registered the lone hit for PHS (6-7, 1-2 NCIC).
“What we do is when things get rolling down hill a little bit, we can’t stop it at one mistake. We make two or three in an inning and we fall behind,” said PHS coach Bob James, whose squad finished with six errors. “When you’re facing good pitching like Lainie, that makes it tough. You can’t spot her runs.”
Notes: Schweickert made her debut in the No. 2 spot of the Lady Bruins lineup Thursday. … The victory is the second 10-0, five-inning win for St. Bede over the Tigresses this season.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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