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Shutout at the Academy

PERU — Emmi Christensen shut out the Princeton Tigresses on six hits and her friends in green took care of the rest in a 5-0 Lady Bruins victory in Three Rivers South softball action Tuesday at the Academy.

The Lady Bruins gave Christensen all the runs she would need early, scoring two runs on three hits in the first inning. They tacked on three more runs in the sixth.

“I thought our defense played excellent. I thought Emmi pitched an excellent game. When we needed a pitch, she came up with it every single time. I couldn’t ask for any more out of our defense or Emmi. It was the best she’s pitched all year,” SBA coach Mike Urbanski said.

St. Bede opened up some breathing room in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Tara Kunkel of Princeton, a lefty slap hitter, stroked a liner just under the glove of a drawn-in left fielder Devin Truesdon. The ball rolled to the fence as Kunkel rolled around the bases for a triple.

Emily Draper followed with a ringing double to right center off PHS starter Alisa Holmbeck to drive in Kunkel to make it 3-0. Draper scored on a wild pitch and Julia Pohar added a RBI double off reliever Madison Menzel to make it 5-0.

Princeton (7-17) was unable to put much of a threat together, their six hits spread apart throughout the game. The Tigresses put two on in the fourth, but Christensen thwarted the threat, striking out Madi Cain.

The seventh inning proved to be Princeton’s best to break through with Cain and Madison Menzel stroking solid singles to open the inning. Christensen retired Devin Truedson on a ground out to second and fanned Danielle Hughes and Alisa Holmbeck to end the game, Holmbeck’s coming on a pitch chin high.

“We just can’t hit string hits together in innings. We haven’t had the ability to do that so it’s hard to push runs across. You cant win if you don’t score,” PHS coach Bob James said “If you get your pitcher out there battling and keeping it close, you hope you can push something across. No luck with us there.

After the two-run first, Holmbeck settled in comfortably, pitching around two one-out walks int he second and a two-out walk in the fourth. She faced another two-out, two-on jam in the fifth after an error and fielder’s choice.

Urbanski summoned Christensen, who was nursing a sore hand, from the flex position to bat for the first time. James wanted no part of her, having Holmbeck issue the old “unintentional,” intentional walk. The move worked with Holmbeck retiring catcher Lexie Miranda on a pop to short.

“Got a good hitter there, why let her beat you. Put her on and take your chances with the next kid. That was a move that worked out for us,” James said.

Urbanski said he was actually glad to see Christensen not get a chance to swing to re-injure her hand. Christensen showed a little theatrics awaiting out the walk by switching over to left side of the plate after three outside pitches.

Notes: The Bureau County and TRAC South rivals will meet again May 16 in Princeton. They will also be grouped in the St. Bede 2A regional, the Tigresses as the No. 3 seed and St. Bede the No. 4. Seneca is the top seed.

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