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Princeton pitcher Madison Menzel had a simple explanation for her success Friday afternoon.
“I just tried to hit my spots and stay consistent,” she said.
Behind her accuracy and consistency — along with effective screwballs and rise balls — the freshman struck out 14 batters and allowed just four hits to lead the Tigresses to a 7-0 non-conference victory over Hall in Spring Valley.
“Madison hit her spots and made them hit particular places. It was good,” Princeton coach Bob James said. “She mixed up the pitches well. She’s getting confidence in her changeup. If her changeup is good, it makes everything else that much better. … I think she had confidence in the kids (behind her). She relaxed and is settling in.”
Menzel struck out two or more batters in each of the first six innings and struck out all six batters she faced in the fifth and sixth frames.
“I think it was (six) innings in a row she had two or three strikeouts an inning,” Hall coach Pete Kasperski said. “You can’t have that. You have to be able to put the ball in play.”
The Lady Red Devils put the ball in play early as Deidra Whightsil and Brenna Faletti had back-to-back singles in the first inning.
Hall loaded the bases with just one out, but Menzel struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
The Lady Red Devils also stranded two runners in the third and seventh innings.
“I think what hurt us was the first inning when we had girls on first and second (with no outs) — and even the bases loaded with one out — and we couldn’t push a run across,” Kasperski said. “I thought after the third inning, we just kind of sat on our bats.”
The Tigresses, meanwhile, provided plenty of support for Menzel.
Heidi James opened the game with a single.
After a sacrifice bunt, Makenzey Wilson ripped an RBI double. Wilson then scored on an RBI single by Steph Farrell to give PHS a 2-0 lead.
“Heidi’s a catalyst for us,” Bob James said. “If she can get things going early in the lineup, that’s good. We brought up a sophomore for tonight to bat in the (No.) 2 hole and she was gritty. She did her job moving runners. Then the (Nos.) 3-4 hitters put the ball in play and we scored some runs. It was good to see the top of the order do it, then the younger kids at the bottom put the ball in play pretty well.”
The Tigresses (2-2) added a run in the third, a run in the fourth, a run in the fifth and a pair of runs in the seventh.
“That helped to get some cushion runs,” said Menzel, who improved to 2-1 on the season. “It was a lot easier to not be under pressure pitching.”
Stephanie Stocking took the loss for Hall (2-4).
Note: Faletti left the game in the fourth inning after tagging out Heidi James on a steal attempt. Faletti got hit on her throwing hand by James’ cleats, causing several cuts. Faletti was taken to the hospital.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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