ROCHELLE — The Lady Hub varsity softball team has shown a competitive fire over its first two games of the Interstate 8 Conference schedule. After a tough loss at Morris on Monday, Rochelle returned home for a matchup with the LaSalle-Peru Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Sophomore Morgan Smardo took the mound for her first varsity start, throwing a complete game and recording four strikeouts. The Lady Hub defense prevented LaSalle-Peru from any big innings, but the Cavalier pitching proved too strong, with Rochelle ultimately falling 6-1 and dropping to 0-2 on the season. The Lady Hubs will host Kaneland on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
“I thought we came in and battled in every inning,” head coach Lindsay Suess said. “We had runners on base and in scoring position during almost every inning, but we need to make sure we’re getting those crucial hits. I thought Morgan threw the ball well for us today.”
LaSalle-Peru plated two runners in the first inning before expanding its lead in the third inning, where the Cavaliers scored two more to earn a 4-0 advantage. After tacking on an insurance run in the fourth inning, Rochelle avoided the shutout in the bottom half of the frame, where senior Kendal Ansteth walked and junior MeLisa Young doubled to make it a 5-1 ball game.
“Getting those crucial hits and timing the opposing pitcher up will be our biggest adjustments,” Suess said. “We also need to continue playing solid defense as we move forward.”
Taking advantage of an error from Rochelle, LaSalle-Peru scored one run in the fifth inning. The Lady Hubs strung together multiple near-rallied toward the end of the game, with Smardo and junior Regan Underwood each drawing fifth-inning walks before being stranded on base. Underwood and Smardo reached again in the seventh inning, with Underwood walking and Smardo hitting a line-drive single to right field before a strikeout sealed the Cavalier victory.
The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity softball team opened its season at Morris on Monday, nearly escaping with an Interstate 8 Conference victory. Despite leading for most of the game, Rochelle conceded seven Redskin runs in the sixth inning to ultimately fall 7-3 and start the season with an 0-1 record.
Senior Bella Lodico took the mound for the Lady Hubs, striking out five batters and holding Morris scoreless over the first five innings. Rochelle took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before adding two more runs in the sixth inning. Junior Jordin Dickey went 1-for-3 with a single and one RBI, while senior Kendal Ansteth finished 1-for-4 with an RBI single.
“I liked that we scored in the first inning and we were up late in the game,” Suess said. “We need to make sure we can shut the door in those late innings. I thought Bella had great command of her pitches and it was one of her better games she’s thrown for our team.”
Junior Ashley Knight went 2-for-4 with a double and a single for the Lady Hubs, who host LaSalle-Peru on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Junior MeLisa Young and senior Sawyer McGee each notched singles in the loss.