Riders Hitting Their Stride In Win Over Elida

St. Marys' Krista Prater high fives first base coach Kayla Thornsberry Zimmer after driving in a pair of runs during Tuesday's Western Buckeye League softball game against Elida.
Sports Editor

Back in March, St. Marys coach Kendra Solomon believed she had a group of softball players who could turn a once prominent program that has since fallen on hard times back to a respected status.

And that group displayed another reason why there is optimism with a 6-4 Western Buckeye League win against Elida on Tuesday. 

In years past, St. Marys teams would let such a slim two-run lead escape, the defense struggled to make critical plays at key moments and the bats would all of a sudden shut down at the plate, but that has not been the case this year, this team is growing up in front of everyone who has watched them play this season.

Roughriders faithful saw brilliance with the glove on the diamond, a young pitcher finding new ways to show her opponents how much she has grown throughout the season and the St. Marys (5-11, 3-4 WBL) offense scored in more ways than one Tuesday and this team is gelling at the right time. 

Baylie Kreischer and Krista Prater both drove in a pair of runs thanks to small-ball offense and Karsyn McGlothen continued to excel in the circle with the help of steady defensive play behind her as the Roughriders claimed the most wins in a season since finishing with five wins in 2012 and the most league victories since claiming three in 2011. It is the first time the Roughriders won three straight since the 2016 season.

Kreischer pushed the first run across the plate with a groundout to score Alyssa Alexander in the bottom of the second inning. St. Marys tagged on two more in the third frame when leadoff hitter Kiley Tennant wittedly bunted her way on with one out and Emma Birt slapped a single before Krista Prater scored both with a single to right field to push the Riders’ lead to 3-0. 

The Roughriders added another run in the home half of the fourth inning when Tennant’s sacrifice bunt narrowly scored Kreischer. Kreischer then added insurance in the fifth frame with an RBI single to plate Alexander, who drew her second walk of the game. McGlothen also walked and was substituted for Kyrsten Fowler, who scored on an error at shortstop on a Kelsey Poppe ground ball to make the score 6-1.

With enough offense, the defense supplied the rest for McGlothen.

St. Marys kept Bulldogs (8-10, 1-5) runners off the base paths with clean fielding by Birt and Tennant at short and third base, respectively. In the fifth inning, Elly Wedding reached for a sharp grounder by Kori Baker and the freshman threw out the Bulldogs’ pitcher from her knees.

McGlothen relied on her defense to get her out of a pair of bases-loaded jams in the sixth and seventh innings to keep the lead intact and defense ended the game when Birt snatched Nevaeh Vorhees’ liner and doubled up Addie Miller at third base.

McGlothen finished with a complete-game three-hitter, allowing four runs — one earned — on just three hits and struck out seven while she limited the damage from the six walks she allowed.

To read the full story, read Wednesday's print edition of The Evening Leader.