Softball: Explosive third inning fuels Lady Hub win over Plano

Senior catcher Kendal Ansteth fires down to second base for the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity softball team. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Seven-run frame keys Rochelle's 11-1 victory

ROCHELLE — With Rochelle leading 9-1 over the Plano Reapers in the bottom of the fifth inning, Lady Hub senior Sawyer McGee stepped into the batter’s box with two runners on base and an opportunity to seal the varsity softball team’s second Interstate 8 Conference win.

Already with a double and one RBI under her belt, McGee took advantage of a slow fastball over the middle, crushing a two-run double down the left-field that that cleared the bases and clinched an 11-1 victory for the Lady Hubs. Rochelle improved to 4-4 overall with the victory.

“I wanted to make contact so we could move the runners around,” McGee said. “I think we’ve been playing great and it feels good to be out here. We didn’t play as well as we could’ve on Wednesday and I was happy to see us come back strong and bring out a lot of energy.”

After two scoreless frames to open the conference matchup, Rochelle broke the game wide open with an offensive explosion in the bottom of the third inning, scoring seven runs to take a 7-0 lead. Freshman Ella Alfano broke the scoreless tie with a two-run single past the Plano shortstop before junior Jordin Dickey brought Alfano home on an RBI triple to center field.

McGee’s first double of the day put the Lady Hubs ahead 4-0 soon after. RBI doubles from sophomore Addie Friestad and senior Kendal Ansteth made it 6-0 before sophomore Morgan Smardo slapped an RBI single from the top of the Lady Hub batting order to score Ansteth.

Leading 8-1 after four innings, Rochelle iced the victory with a three-run fifth inning. Senior Bella Lodico earned the win on the mound, striking out six batters and allowing one run.

“I think we have a great group this year,” McGee said.” We’re doing really well right now and when we bring energy and confidence to the dugout, that transfers over to the game.”

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