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Bethel holds off Meeker in wild season opener, 16-13

The Shawnee News-Star
Bethel batter Rae Walker prepares to connect on the delivery as Meeker catcher Icle Brewer (left) looks on during Monday's action.

    BETHEL ACRES – The Bethel Lady Wildcats didn't seem to get rattled by a big Meeker Lady Bulldog comeback on Monday

    Bethel, which saw a 10-3 advantage dissipate to one run, opened the 2020 fall fastpitch softball season with a wild 16-13 decision over Meeker at Tommy Block Field.

    “We were fortunate to have a lot of run support,” said Bethel head coach Chad Smith. “Our pitcher (Annie Compton) is learning how to manage the game. She did a good job in the seventh.”

    The Lady Wildcats opened up the huge seven-run lead only to see the Lady Bulldogs rally back to trim the deficit and make it too close for comfort. Meeker struck back with three scores each in the fifth and sixth innings to make it 10-9.

    Then Bethel put together a six-run, seven-hit bottom of the sixth to take control.

    “It was good that we continued to answer back and pull away. You have to give credit to our kids,” Smith said. “It's so important in fastpitch softball that when you get runners in scoring position, you've got to have hits.”

    The Lady Wildcats pounded out 20 hits and were helped by five Meeker errors in producing the 16 runs. Meeker compiled 13 hits and saw Bethel commit a pair of errors.

    Shelby Spurgin, hitting in the No. 3 spot for the Lady Wildcats, went 4-for-5, with a double, three singles, a run batted in and two runs scored. Rae Walker and McKenna Schimmel each finished 3-for-4 as Walker doubled once, drove in a run and scored twice while Schimmel executed a pair of bunt-singles among her three hits as she scored once.

    Leading 10-9, the Lady Wildcats strung together seven straight hits which led to the six runs and the big enough cushion to come away with the victory.

    Lilla Wade's leadoff single down the right-field line got the ball rolling. Walker then connected for a single down the left-field line and Schimmel's second bunt-single loaded up the sacks.

    That set the table for a Haylee Wilcox two-run single up the middle. Following an infield single by Bella Bishop, Brooklyn Duff  connected for an RBI single and Peyton Meiler delivered a two-run single to right-center.

    Meeker rallied with four scores of its own as Icle Brewer picked up an RBI off a fielder's choice, Isabella Saavedra drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs and Savanna Nelson hit a two-run single to left, but the rally for three runs short as Compton recorded a strikeout to end the game.

    Kaycee Babek, batting in the leadoff spot, fueled the Lady Bulldog offense by going 3-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Meeker also received a pair of hits each from Katlin Alford and Maleah Blankenship, who were each 2-for-4, and Callie Sellers and Katy Buxton, each finished 2-for-5.

    The two teams were deadlocked at 3-3 through one inning.

    The top half of the first featured a leadoff walk by Babek. A stolen base and two passed ball got her home. Saavedra later hit a two-run single up the middle to make it 3-0.

    Duff's leadoff single and stolen base ultimately led to her scoring off an error and Wade later sliced a two-run double to right to tie up the contest.

    Bethel then put together a four-run third inning, highlighted by a Compton run-scoring double and a Walker two-run single to make it 7-3.

    The Lady Wildcats upped the count to 10-3 in the fourth as Spurgin had an RBI single and Walker doubled in a run.

    The three-run fifth for Meeker featured an RBI single each from Buxton and Blankenship and a bases-loaded walk by Nelson as the Bethel lead was trimmed to 10-6.

    Three more Lady Bulldog runs occurred in the sixth behind a two-run triple to right-center by Alford and sacrifice fly to short-center by Blankenship.

    Bethel, 1-0, plays at Bishop McGuinness on Friday at 5 p.m. Meeker, 0-1, participates in the Cushing Tournament on Thursday.