MINONK - Fieldcrest recorded a 4-1 win over Heart of Illinois Conference guest Eureka on April 3 at Veteran's Park.
The Knights (6-4, 2-1) went to work in their first at-bat, as the Knights scored three runs. Alivia Tjaden and first-year Kaya Buchanan each had run-scoring singles.
While they did plate four runs, it could have been more, but the Knights left 10 on bases, including the bags full in the fourth.
“You always want to get those runners in scoring position in,” stated Fieldcrest coach Liz Kay. “It was enough today, but you want to push across as many runs as possible.”
The hosts added one in the fourth, as Alivia Tjaden drove in her twin sister, Alaina Tjaden, with a single to left field, one of her three hits on the day.
In the circle, Alivia Tjaden (2-2) threw 29 pitches in the top of the first, but just 62 over the final six, to post a complete game. Sixty-five of her 91 pitches were strikes.
“I think she just started to get confidence,” commented Kay. “We had a good defense today. We were able to make the plays behind her.”
The Eureka (7-5, 1-2) tally was in the first, as Morgan Greene, who led off with an infield hit and stole second base, came home on a single up the middle by Marah Miller.
They had six more hits, but none scored.
“We did not hit the ball at all,” Hornets’ coach John Stromberger said. “I told the girls we have to get two hits in a row. We could not put hits together. We struggled hitting coupled with our poor defense to start.”
Alaina Tjaden reached on an error in the first, while Addie Goodrich followed with a bunt single when no Eureka infielder covered first.
Eureka put two runners on the seventh, but Alivia Tjaden enticed a fly out to left field and an infield pop up to Goodrich at shortstop to end it. Greene and Jayci Swords each had two hits for the guests.
The visitors got off to a hot start, but have come back to the rest of the pack.
“We’re continuing to try to get them back to where we were,” said Stromberger, whose squad won their first five games. “I think they’re rattled a little bit. Right now, our focus is to start strong. We’ve been struggling falling behind. I think, at some point, we’ll snap out of it.”
First-year pitcher Delaney Phillips (4-3) allowed four runs, two of which were unearned, and was saddled with the loss.
While Eureka had eight hits, Fieldcrest had nine.
According to Kay, she felt this was her team’s best overall performance of the spring so far.
“This is the first game where we played to our potential,” she said. “This is the first game we put it all together pitching, offense and especially our defense.”