John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — After winning a quality 2-1 ball game over Mattoon, Shelbyville (6-2, 1-0 Okaw) struggled against Sullivan on Wednesday. It took a 7-run inning to get their 6th win, 7-5.
Grace “The Ace” Moll KO’d the first three batters she faced, then got the first two batters in the 2nd to ground out to Williams, 2nd to 1st. After giving up a walk, Moll rang up her fourth victim in seven batters.
The Rams started hitting early, but couldn’t get them across. They stranded seven base runners.
Kayla Brachbill and Moll both had hits in the 1st, but were left on base. With one out in the 2nd, Brandy Smith singled and Abbie Watton walked, but there were left on.
Moll gave up a lead-off single to Birittin Boyer in the 3rd, then rang up the next three batters. Liz Inman, the Sully starter, retired Shelby in order with a strikeout and two fly outs.
In the 4th, Moll threw a lead-off walk and it hurt. Brittany Lamendola singled and stole 2nd, putting men on 3rd and 2nd. Moll Ko’d the next two batters, but a wild pitch gave Sullivan a 1-0 lead. After another walk, Moll got the third out on three pitches.
Cue the Ram rally in the bottom of the 4th. Madison Boone, who won the Mattoon game with a home run, led off with a triple. Rachel Fox reached on an error by the center fielder and Boone tied the game at 1-1. Smith singled and stole 2nd. Watton hit a 2-run single and Shelby was up 3-1.
With one out, Courtney Williams hit a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Jensen Cloe singled. Brachbill singled and Williams scored on a passed ball. Up 5-1, Moll tripled in another run, what would be the winning run, despite the Sully comeback. Boone, who started the inning, singled in Moll for the 7th run of the inning and the 7-1 lead.
Moll pitched one more inning, throwing out the first batter from the mound and striking out the next, for her 11th K in less than five innings. She gave up a walk, then Williams made a play on a ground ball and threw to 1st for the out. Shelby had two base runners on balls in the 5th, but stranded them.
With a 7-1 lead in the 6th, Moll was relieved by Watton. She gave up a lead-off hit to Lamendola, then an error put the first two batters on. Boone threw the next runner out, short to 1st and Watton threw a K. It looked like they’d get out of the inning, but Boyer cranked a double and it was 7-3. Boone singled with two outs in the Ram 6th, but was another stranded runner.
Sullivan had to make hay in the top of the 7th, down 7-,3 and they just couldn’t come up with enough. Taylor Wallis led off with a single and Stewart walked to put the first two batters on again with no outs. The third batter walked and the bases were loaded, no outs. Passed balls and wild pitches scored them both, 7-5
A lined shot into center field was snagged by Smith or it would have been comeback time. Fox threw out the next batter 3rd to 1st. The following batter walked and stole 2nd, bringing the tying run to the plate. The count went to 2-2, then Watton recorded the game-ending strikeout.
Boone was stellar at the plate, reaching base all four times, going 3-for-4 with a triple a run and an RBI. Smith went 2-for-3 and a run, Moll was 2-for-4 with a triple an RBI and a run, and Brachbill was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Lamendola and Boyer led Sullivan. Boyer was 2-for-3 and Lamendola 2-for-4.
Shelbyville (6-2, 1-0 Okaw) were to play at Hillsboro, Thursday.
Shelbyville 7, Sullivan 5
Sullivan 000 102 2--5-2-1
Shelby 000 700 x--7-11-1
Ram stats: Cloe 1-for-4, run; Brachbill 2-for-4, run, RBI; Moll 2-for-4, 3B, run, RBI; Boone 3-for-4, 3B, run, RBI; Fox 0-for-4, ROE, run; Smith 2-for-3, 2 SB, run; Watton Eigsti 0-for-3; Williams 0-for-2, FC, BB, run. Pitching (W) Moll (4-1) 5 IP, 1 run, 2 hits, 4 BBs, 11 Ks; (R) Watton 2 IP, 4 runs, 3 hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks.
Sully stats: Wallis 1-for-4, run; Stewart 0-for-2, 2 BBs, run; Lamendola 2-for-4, 2 SB, run; Inman 0-for-2, ROE, run (Brown 0-for-2); catcher 0-for-2, 2 BBs, SB; 2nd baseman 0-for-3, BB; Boyer 2-for-3, 2B; Right fielder 0-for-3. Pitching (L) Inman (2-2) 5 IP, 7 runs, 11 hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks; (R) Clements 1 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 BBs, 2 Ks.