Pontiac softball wins two

There was no issue in making the long trip to Charleston on the Friday before the postseason begins, not as far as Pontiac’s softball team was concerned. The Indians were coming a win over the second-ranked team in Class 3A, so what’s the big deal about taking on the top-ranked team in a doubleheader.
    Apparently nothing. The Indians relied on strong pitching and followed a working formula to sweep the twin-bill from the Trojans, winning 1-0 in the first game and 2-0 in the second.
    “We did what we’ve been doing all year — trying to get that first run in the first inning and keep our own on the defensive end,” PTHS head coach Nicole Hayner said after the first game.
    Pontiac did get a run in the first inning in the opener, as well getting the initial tally in the nightcap.
    “It doesn’t matter that it was earned or unearned, we’ll take that run,” Hayner added.
    Addison Masching reached on a two-out single in the first inning of the first contest. She took second on a wild pitch and then scored when Emma Jacobs reached on a throwing error.
    It was 1-0 and all the Indians needed to do was not allow Charleston to score. Seemingly, this was going to be easier said than done. But in reality, the Indians were able to do just that — twice.
    It helped big time to have Regan Krause throwing darts and Amanda Fox able to work her mojo.
    “Those girls work together well, they both had to get out of tight jams,” Hayner said of her pitching duo. “They pitched the correct pitch when they need to, and they hit their spot when they needed to. They both support each other and our defense supports them.”
    Charleston tested Krause right off with a one-out double and then an error that put runners on the corners. Krause got out of the first inning with two strikeouts.
    A leadoff walk often leads to trouble, but Krause retired three in a row after yielding a free pass to open the bottom of the fourth inning.
    Fox came on in the sixth and ran into trouble after giving up a leadoff single and then a walk. A fly out to center and a pop up to second took away some stress, but Fox hit a batter to load the bases.
    Fox got out of trouble with a strikeout. Two strikeouts and a ground out in the seventh closed out the victory.
    The Indians only managed three base hits as Masching, Maddi Stark and Webster each singled.
    Krause got the win after giving up no runs, two hits and one walk in five innings. She had nine punch outs. Fox fanned three, walked one and gave up one hit.
    Winning one game of a doubleheader, especially against a strong opponent like Charleston, made the trip worthwhile. The Indians improved upon that with a sweep that saw the Krause-Fox tandem toss 14 innings of shutout ball.
    And, like the first game, Pontiac got on top early and made it stand. The big difference was an insurance tally recorded in the fifth inning.
    Webster led off the second game with a base hit and Fox followed with a sacrifice that saw Webster end up on third. Masching lofted a sacrifice fly that plated Webster the Tribe led 1-0.
    “Webby gets on, she’ll find a way to score and she did that,” Hayner said. “We continue that, we’ll be fine.”
    Fox got the start in this game and allowed a two-out single in the first inning. She then retired the next 13 Trojans in order, leaving with a 2-0 lead.
    Pontiac got its second run in the top of the fifth inning. Krause reached on an error and Peyton Trost singled. Two batters later, Webster singled to drive in Krause for the 2-0 lead.
    Charleston’s biggest threat of the second game came in the sixth inning. An error with one out was followed by a walk and a single that loaded the bases. Krause buckled down and got a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning.
    She retired the Trojans in order in the seventh to complete the sweep.
    Webster had two hits and drove in a run while Sydney Barnett had a two-base hit to lead the Pontiac (22-7) offense. Alyssa Fox and Trost each singled, as well. Masching added a run batted in.
    Fox gave up one hit and struck out four in five innings for the win. Krause yielded a hit, a walk and fanned three in recording the save.
    Pontiac will open regional play at home Tuesday against the winner of Monday’s Streator-Metamora contest. The Indians are hosting the regional.