KEOKUK — Usually, a softball doubleheader between Mt. Pleasant and Keokuk brings chaos, with games going back and forth all night long. Friday’s doubleheader looked a lot different than previous years, as the Panthers outscored the Chiefs 26-1to earn a sweep.
The very young Chiefs team came into the doubleheader having lost every game so far this season, and the Panthers weren’t about to let them pick up their first win of the season. Mt. Pleasant won game one 13-0 and took game two 13-1.
In game one, Mt. Pleasant took the lead with three runs int he second inning. The Panthers put up three more in the fourth and tacked on seven in the fifth to run away with the win, in five innings.
Samantha Broeker had a huge game, going 4-4 with a double and three RBIs. Trinity Krabill was 3-4 with a double and two RBIs. Savana Walls went 2-3 with two RBIs. Lyndi Vantiger had two RBIs. Sydni Coleman was 2-2 with an RBI. Makayla Cam was 2-4 with a double and an RBI, and Lexie Magnani knocked in one run of her own.
Coleman had a strong outing in the circle. She shut the Chiefs down, pitching a complete-game shutout and giving up just two hits all day, while striking out four batters.
Keokuk stayed in the game through the first four innings in game two. Mt. Pleasant scored a run in the first and one in the third, and Keokuk put one up in the first, making it a 2-1 game going into the fifth inning. Mt. Pleasant tallied 11 runs over the next three frames, however, putting up five in the fifth and six in the seventh.
Coleman anchored the offense in game two, going 3-4 with a homerun, a double, and six RBIs. Anni Liechty went 2-4 with three RBIs. Cam was 3-4 with an RBI. Ava Lowery was 1-3 with an RBI, and Broeker was 1-4 with a double.
Hannah Newman and Kenna Smith were a dynamic duo in game two. Newman threw four innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and two walks, while striking out four. Smith threw three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk in the process.
“It’s definitely a different Keokuk team than we’ve seen,” said head coach Troy Mears after the wins. “Different coaching, young girls, up-and-coming program. I told the girls, we’ve got to come and play our game. We did the right thing. We scored 13 runs both games.”
The Mt. Pleasant girls are now 8-3 overall this season and 5-1 in conference play. That sets up a huge conference doubleheader tonight (Monday) against Fairfield, who is 6-0 in the SEC. First place in the conference will be on the line.
“They’ve got a real good No. 1 pitcher,” says Mears, referenceing Fairfield’s Allison Rebeling. “She’s high, we’ve got to lay off the high ones. That has got us every year. If we can lay off that and let her throw strikes, or walk us if she doesn’t throw strikes. Hopefully we can make plays. They don’t have a (super) offense, but with her on the mound, they don’t need a lot.”
Tonight’s doubleheader will begin at 5:30 p.m.