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Change is good for Lady Bruins

(BCR photo/Mike Vaughn)
St. Bede’s Tara Kunkel, a junior from Princeton, races home to score for the Lady Bruins as the throw eludes PHS catcher Abby Jaques Thursday at St. Bede. The Lady Bruins won 10-0 in five innings.
(BCR photo/Mike Vaughn)
St. Bede’s Morgan Knobloch beats the throw to Princeton third baseman Makenzey Wilson in Thursday’s NCIC softball action at the Academy. The Lady Bruins won 10-0 in five innings.

PERU — St. Bede’s Lady Bruin softball team took advantage of some wild play from Princeton to win 10-0 in 4 1/2 innings Thursday afternoon at the Academy.

The Lady Bruins (12-4, 3-0) also benefitted from a change in the top of the batting order pitcher Lainie Schweickert moving from the three spot to the two in the batting order behind leadoff hitter Lydia Stariha. Energized by signing a letter of intent to Grinnell College earlier in the day, Bruins’ catcher Lydia Stariha had three hits in the game. Schweickert added two.

“It started with Lainie Schweickert and Lydia Stariha,” SBA coach Bill Prokup said. “We’ve had a change at the top of the lineup to get those two together, and they made things happen. Those guys have been doing that all year, and Stariha was 3-for-3 tonight.

“(Lainie) is the best base runner on our team other than Lydia, so we just moved them together to see what happens. And then Barbie (Prokup) has been making solid contact almost every time.”

The Lady Bruins left the bases loaded in the first inning but took advantage of some nifty base-running in getting two runners across the plate in the second.

With two outs and two on, Schweickert hit an infield single to short to score Nicole Yaklich with Lydia Stariha advancing to third. Schweickert intentionally stopped between first and second and when PHS pitcher Madison Menzel threw to second, Stariha raced home to make it 2-0.

In the fourth, the bats woke up for both sides with the Bruins taking full advantage. Princeton stranded Makenzey Wilson and Mollie Bates who were in scoring position. St. Bede’s Abby Nowakowski led off with a single and was advanced home by a Tara Kunkel single and error at first base that allowed her to reach third.

Then Stariha singled to send Kunkel across the plate. Schweickert took the opportunity hitting a double and scoring Stariha. Mo Dean ended the spree with a double, and St. Bede found itself up 6-0 going into the fifth.

The Tigresses (6-7, 1-3) were unable to get anything going in the top of the fifth, and St. Bede tacked on four more runs off freshman reliever Alissa Holmbeck before the game was called in the middle of the inning.

“You know what, it was nice to see,” Bill Prokup said. “The first thing that was bothering me was that we lost three runners in the first inning. The girls know that if they want to win late in the season, they have to start playing better.

“The girls responded. Hopefully the two-run game against Putnam County woke us up a little bit.”

St. Bede lost by one run in a 23 strikeout effort by Schweickert against PC.

The winning pitcher was Schweickert who faced the Tigresses’ Madison Menzel, who surrendered six unearned runs.

“We didn’t execute the top of the first. Anytime you get that lead runner on, you have to score it. But, to get all the bases loaded with nobody out, that’s good,” PHS coach Bob James said of retiring St. Bede in the first inning. “We’re missing spots pitching wise. But ... early in the year youth was getting us a little bit. But, I told them we can’t use that as a crutch. They’ve been playing 13 games now as freshmen. We get things rolling down hill a little bit, we can’t stop it at one mistake. We’ll make two or three errors in an inning, and we fall behind. And you’re facing good pitching by Schweickert, and that makes it tough. We just can’t stop it. It’s tough, but we just have to keep striving to get better.”

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