SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Central A&M softball knocked off the Shelbyville machine on Tuesday, as the Rams slipped some gears and the Raiders did the little things right, winning 4-3.
The Raiders defense made plays. Diminutive Raider hurdler Lexee Smith threw strikes and threw at a speed the Rams couldn't adjust to consistently. The Rams clobbered some pitches, but they sent too many too high and the Raiders made the catches.
When the Rams did shoot some liners, again, the Raiders made the plays. Shelby also wasted two base runners in scoring position, in a 1-run loss, on poor base running decisions.
The Rams scored a run in the 1st for an early lead. But they only got one run through four innings.
Jensen Cloe led off the game with a single and Kayla Brachbill doubled. With two on and no outs, Grace Moll popped out to the catcher. Madison Boone skied a ball into center field and Kaley Hennings squeezed it. Cloe tagged and scored.
Brandy Smith singled, but Brachbill held up at 3rd. Watton reached on catcher interference to load the bases with two outs. Rachel Fox hit a screaming liner into center field that would have scored at least one run, maybe two. But, Hennings came in and caught it for the 3rd out.
Shelby went in order in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings. In the 3rd, Moll had a 1-out single and went to 2nd on a wild pitch, but rounded 2nd and was caught off. Boone then blasted a shot into deep right-center. Hennings got on her horse and the former middle school track star tracked it down in stride.
Ram starter Grace Moll and new battery-mate Jensen Cloe were making it work. Moll was giving Cloe a tutorial about how to catch her and the Rams had a 1-0 lead through three innings. Moll had seven Ks and didn't allow a base runner in three innings. Then Moll was lifted in the 4th and the Raiders went to work.