Shelbyville (13-4) has dropped a few games this year as veteran pitcher Grace Moll has led a younger team that was gaining more experience. But on Tuesday, the wheels came off as the Ram battery began to leak. Tuscola tumbled the Rams in an important conference game, 13-5.
Moll, who throws up to 70 miles per hour and has a variety of moving pitches, was delivering to her back-up catcher, Courtney Williams. First-string catcher Kayla Brachbill was out due to injury. Moll pitched the 1st inning, but Williams injured her thumb and was unable to catch from that point. The Rams were up 4-0.
Back-up, back-up catcher Rachel Fox came in to catch, but had never caught Moll before. Tuscola scored a couple runs as the Ram battery-mates struggled to sync up. Moll went to short and Madison Boone came in to pitch. Tuscola scored three runs in the 3rd and took a 5-4 lead. Abbie Watton also came in to pitch, but Tuscola took advantage and went on to score three more in the 4th and finished off the Rams with a 5-run 6th. The Rams got a solo run in the 7th, but it was too little, too late.
Moll singled in the 1st, but was left on. She gave up a lead-off walk, but then fanned the next three Tuscola batters.
Brandy Smith got the Rams going in the 4-run 2nd with a single and stole 2nd. Watton walked and with two outs, Mackenize Durbin reached on an error and stole 2nd. The top of the order came up and Williams singled and stole 2nd. Jensen Cloe capped the rally with a 2-run single, 4-0 Rams.
Moll gave up a lead-off single in the Tuscola 2nd and the runner scored on successive passed balls. Moll threw another strikeout, but hit a batter and she scored on a passed ball. Moll threw out a batter from the mound and then KO'd the lead-off man, holding on to a 4-2 lead.
The pitching/catching triage began in the 3rd and couldn't save the patient. The Rams took their second conference loss and may have fallen out of the OVC title hunt. Brachbill is expected back in time for the postseason run.
Tuscola 13, Shelbyville 5
Shelby 040 000 1--5-5-1
Tuscola 023 305 x--13-12-4
Ram stats: Williams 1-for-3, SB, BB, 2 runs; Cloe 1-for-4, 2 RBIs; Moll 2-for-4; Boone 0-for-4, ROE; Smith 2-for-4, 2B, 2 SB, run; Watton 1-for-2, BB (CR Lee SB, run); Fox 0-for-3; Eigsti 0-for-3; Durbin 0-for-3, ROE, SB, run. Pitching (L) Boone 1 IP, 3 runs, 2 hits, 3 BBs, HBP; Watton 3 IP, 8 runs, 11 hits, 0 BB, 3 Ks; (Starter) Moll 2 IP, 2 runs, 1 hit, 2 BB, HB, 5 Ks.
Tuscola stats: Watson 1-for-4, BB, run; Shelmardine 0-for-4, D3K; Frerichs 3-for-4, HR, HBP, ROE, run, RBI; Guliani 2-for-4, BB, 2 runs; Miller 3-for-5, 3 runs; Walker 2-for-3, BB, HR, 2runs, 2 RBIs; Little 3-for-3, HBP, SB, 2 runs, RBI; Comerford 2-for-3, BB, run, RBI; Tabeline 0-for-3, BB. Pitching (W) Walker 7 IP, 5 runs, 5 hits, BB, 8 Ks.