MINONK — Spring was in the air, albeit with scattered piles of snow surrounding the softball diamond at Minonk Thursday for Princeton’s 2013 softball season opener. It was a sight for sore eyes after nearly three weeks waiting out the extended winter weather to play ball. The only thing that spoiled the moment for the Princeton Tigresses was the final score.
The host Lady Knights pushed three runs across in the fifth inning, two of which were unearned to take a 4-0 lead. The Tigresses answered with two in the top of the sixth, but went down in defeat 4-2.
“There’s a lot of disappointment coming out on the short end of the first game, because we all expect (winning) that and plan on that. But there’s a lot of promise. A lot of kids did a lot of good things,” PHS coach Bob James said.
The fifth inning was the difference in the game. Fieldcrest’s Haley Ruestman led off with a triple and scored on a pop to right fielder that PHS frosh Alissa Holmbeck got a glove on, but couldn’t hang on. Another drop on a tag at the plate by freshman pitcher Madison Menzel on a passed ball plated another Fieldcrest run.
“You could tell there was a lot of jitters. First game out. We were quick-handed trying to field balls. We had a couple mental breakdowns that got us I think,” James said. “But all in all, for having young kids, three freshmen, first game out that all contributed, I was proud of the team.”
Menzel scattered six hits and five walks while fanning two in her varsity debut in the circle. She walked in a run in the second inning.
The Tigresses struck for two runs in the sixth. Second baseman Mollie Bates led off with a bunt single and scored on Abby Jaques’ one-out deep triple to straightaway center. Jaques came home when first baseman Stephenny Farrell reached on an error by the Knights shortstop to make it 4-2.
• Tiger tales: The Tigresses will return to action at home Monday vs. Stark County. There is no F/S preliminary contest ... Senior Kat Pranka departed after Thursday’s game for a Spring trip and will miss next week’s games, James said.