Softball: Stranded runners hurt Lady Hubs against Ottawa

Freshman Ella Alfano looks for a pitch to drive during the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity softball game against Ottawa on Wednesday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Four-run first inning propels Pirates to 7-3 win over Rochelle

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle varsity softball team went without a hit when the Lady Hubs faced Ottawa on the road earlier this season. Rochelle needed only two at-bats before finding its first base knock when the Lady Hubs hosted the Pirates for an Interstate 8 rematch Wednesday.

Rochelle loaded the bases twice over the first two innings, but the Lady Hubs walked away with only one run across both frames. Ottawa took advantage of its chances early, however, scoring four first-inning runs and ultimately holding off the Lady Hubs 7-3. Rochelle (6-10) will now gear up for an IHSA 3A Regional Semifinal matchup against Geneseo. The sixth-seeded Lady Hubs will face the third-seeded Maple Leafs at Geneseo on June 2 at 4:30 p.m.

“We were no-hit when we faced them the first time, but we came out today swinging the bat and ready to go,” head coach Lindsay Suess said. “We put the ball in play and we were excited about our at-bats. We just need to score when we have runners in scoring position.”

Ottawa rallied for four runs with two outs in the top of the first inning, hitting three consecutive singles before an outfield error and another single kept the Pirates coming to the plate. Ottawa added two runs on a double and two singles in the top of the second inning.

With the Lady Hubs trailing 6-0, senior Sawyer McGee doubled to right-center and scored on senior Bella Lodico’s infield single in the bottom of the second inning. Lodico, who threw a complete game and recorded two strikeouts, held the Pirates to one run over the final five innings of the game. The Lady Hubs went hitless over the third and fourth innings before junior Jordin Dickey slapped a single through the right side in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Down 7-1 after the Pirates plated one run in the top of the third inning, Rochelle scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sophomore Addie Friestad singled to begin the frame and McGee doubled for the second time to keep the Rochelle offense rolling. Both runners came home when sophomore Morgan Smardo sent a two-RBI triple to the right-field fence. Ottawa stranded one runner in the seventh, but the Lady Hubs went down in order to end the game.

“We play in such a tough conference and we’ve faced some really tough teams,” Suess said. “We’re ready to see Geneseo, but we need to put the ball in play and be tough on defense.”

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