Fairfield, Pekin and Van Buren all converged on the diamonds at O.B. Nelson park and the middle school Friday and Saturday for the 40th annual Trojan Invitational hosted by the softball team.
1st Clear Creek-Amana
4th New London
6th Van Buren
7th Winfield-Mt. Union
Fairfield fell 6-5 to New London after trailing 3-0 after the top of the first. The Trojans scored one run in each of the first, third and fourth innings and even platted two in the fifth to tie the contest at five a piece, unfortunately the Tigers added the decisive sixth score in the top of the seventh.
Shay Drish, Coty Engle and Hannah Simpson all had multiple hits with Drish scoring three times and Simpson driving in three runs.
Allison Rebling went five innings from the circle, allowing five runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts and zero walks. Engle tossed two innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
Pekin defeated Chariton and although no official stats were submitted for the game, head coach Shelby Atwood said, “I was expecting the girls to come play well and they’ve shown that so far. Hopefully today we can put together two nice wins and come out on top.”
Atwood added, “We hit the ball really well and played good defense [last night] with on-target pitching, so everything went well.”
After CC-A put up three in the road first and two more in the top of the third, Van Buren rallied for five in the fourth and three in the fifth to take an 8-5 lead. Unfortunately, the Clippers added one in the sixth and three in the seventh to take the 9-8 victory. Sophomore Ella Jirak lead the team with three hits in three at-bats with two runs scored. On the mound, Ally Cambell went the distance, allowing nine runs, five earned, on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout.
“Clear Creek hit the ball better than anyone we’ve played all year,” said head coach Randy Smith. “I know their record isn’t very good, but they’re a good team.”
Fairfield got their mind right with a 13-1 route of Chariton that included three runs in the first and second innings before seven in the third sealed the deal for the Trojans. Rebling, Engle, Simpson and Destiny Gridley all had multiple hits and FHS needed only 19 at-bats to plate their 13 runs.
Rebling went all three innings in the circle with one hit turning into one run with the junior walking one and striking out seven.
A 4-1 win for the Panthers included runs scored in the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead before two more in the sixth put the Tigers away in the non-conference matchup of SEISC league foes.
“Right now we’re playing to where I think we can go deep in the [state] tournament,” suggested Coach Atwood. “Our record isn’t where we want it to be, but I don’t think our record reflects our team either. If we just keep playing defense and hitting the ball hard, I think we’re going to be tough.”
Another non-league matchup of SEISC rivals saw the Warriors whoop Winfield-Mt. Union 14-3 with Van Buren jumping out to a 5-0 lead after one frame. The Lions scored two in the top of the second, but the Warriors answered back with two of their own and then four more in the third and three more in the fourth to walk-off with the 11-run mercy-shortened victory. Isabel Manning, Chelsey Huff, Salena Sayre, Ally Cambell and Ella Jirak each hit safely multiple times and Cambell pitched the full five innings, allowing three runs on three hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Fairfield defeated Van Buren for fifth place, taking a close 3-0 lead into the road half of the seventh before adding five runs for good measure and an 8-0 victory.
“We won two games today, so that’s all we’re worried about,” said a smirking skipper Bob.
“This gives us a little momentum going into Monday which are the important match ups, compared to the last three,” added Bradfield. “We just need to keep working and getting better.”
The Trojans combined for 11 hits including two each from the 5-7 hitters that includes Simpson, Jenna Norris and Gridley, respectively.
Rebling pitched the first four innings and allowed zero runs on one hit with four walks and seven strikeouts and Engle finished off the rest with no runs allowed on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
“They all like each other, so when someone makes an error, there isn’t a bunch of yelling at each other,” explained Smith of his Warriors unity. “They’re fun to coach and we just keep on going.”
Pekin fell 5-0 in the championship game with the Clippers getting four of their scores in the home half of the second before adding the final run of the 40th annual event in the sixth.
Pekin travels to New London tonight, Fairfield heads to Mt. Pleasant for two SEC games and Van Buren hosts West Burlington on Tuesday.