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Wolf sends Maconaquah to first softball win of season

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JUST ABOUT: Maconaquah junior Josie Pyke (R) manages to get a foot onto home plate before Southwood pitcher MaKenna Pace (2) can get the tag down after a wild pitch during the second inning of Wednesday night’s non-conference softball game. The run gave the Braves a 2-1 lead and the hosts ran away from there, winning 13-2 over the Knights in five innings.
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SHOWTIME: In her first varsity pitching appearance, Maconaquah sophomore Carra Wolf shutdown Southwood, allowing two runs on one hit in five innings of work while driving in six runs, including the winning two-run home run, in a 13-2 Braves’ win over the Knights.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Washouts over the last week led Maconaquah and Southwood to adding a pre-conference softball game to the ledger Wednesday evening.

The Knights held an early lead but were soon knocked down by Carra Wolf, who picked up her first varsity pitching win and plated six runs in a 13-2 Braves win.

Maconaquah head coach Jenna Wittenberg, who also picked up her first head coaching win, was appreciative of all the work that went into making the game happen and for the girls to be ready to roll.

“There were some first game jitters but the girls came back well,” Wittenberg said. “(Maconaquah athletic director Casey Stouffer) has been very patient in working with our schedule and sent out the call to anyone who would be able to help us get a game in today.

“Thanks go to him and to Southwood for coming over. It was awesome to get a game in after six weeks of practice.

“The girls have been in the gym a lot because of the weather but have come to work every day, so all credit goes to the girls for keeping with it,” Wittenberg added.

Southwood got off to a solid start with a run in the top of the first after Kassity Simpson drew a walk, was moved over on a Madelyn Turner sac bunt and scored when MaKenna Pace’s grounder to second was booted.

Wolf walked Tabitha Thomas to put two on but struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam.

Maconaquah answered in the bottom half of the inning as Shelby Spence doubled to lead off and came in on Lexi DiBattiste’s single.

Wittenberg pointed to the swift response as a significant statement for the girls.

“Getting the run back was a key moment,” Wittenberg noted. “The way last year went, starting off the way we did could have allowed for doubt to creep back in.

“Once they got the run back, everything started flowing from there.”

The hosts added a second run in the second inning after Josie Pyke scored on a passed ball and broke the game open in the third inning.

DiBattiste and Holly Morris scored on a deep Wolf sac fly to make the score 4-1 before a two-out rally gave the Braves breathing room.

Hits from Andrea Selleck, Savanna Miracle, Pyke and Hayleigh Cole plated three additional runs, giving the hosts a 7-1 lead.

Patience at the plate from the Braves’ batters was rewarded with a big inning according to Wittenberg.

“The girls were antsy at the beginning but they began to keep their hands back,” Wittenberg said. “They waited on the pitches to come to them.

“The girls have faced Carra a lot, so they’re used to that, so they had to really work on waiting. Once they did that, they put the bat on the ball hard.”

Southwood got another run in when Wolf walked Olivia Adams after Thomas, Keegan Simpson and Makayla Bechtold drew free passes but could not do any more damage.

Maconaquah did not have the same problem, adding a pair of runs in the inning off a Wolf single and scoring two more off of errors to bring the game to 11-2.

Pace singled, breaking up Wolf’s no-hit bid, and reached second base in the top of the fifth but the Knights couldn’t get her in, giving the Braves the chance to end the game in the bottom half of the inning.

Wolf would apply the coup de grace, belting a two-run home run off of Kassity Simpson to finish the game with a bang.

The sophomore’s performance at the plate, driving in six runs, and in the circle, striking out eight, was one Wittenberg said would be remembered for a long time.

“Carra blew me out of the water with the way she handled this game,” Wittenberg said. “She looked like she was out there in her 50th start.

“All credit goes to her for how hard she’s worked and she had a great demeanor on the mound. For a first year pitcher in her first start, I don’t know what more you could ask from her.”

After a meeting with Oak Hill Thursday, Maconaquah plays Friday at home with Rossville, another late addition to the schedule.

Wittenberg said the Thursday and Friday games would be tough but the girls were very excited to be on the field and playing.

“The girls are chomping at the bit to play,” Wittenberg said. “Hopefully they can use this to snowball.

“The girls will be in a tough game with Oak Hill Thursday and another one Friday. Tonight was a good night to get the first game jitters out and they’ll be ready to go.”

At Maconaquah

Southwood 100 10 — 2 1 4

Maconaquah 115 42 — 13 16 1

WP — Wolf (1-0) CG (5), H, 2 R (1 ER), 6 BB, HBP, 9 K

LP — Pace (2-2) 4 IP, 13 H, 11 R (8 ER), 3 BB, 2 K

HR — Wolf (1)

2B — Cole, Miracle, Spence, Morris

RBI — Adams; Wolf (6), Cole, Pyke, Miracle, Spence, Morris

Next Game: Maconaquah (1-0) hosts Rossville (0-2) Friday at 6 p.m.