Emotions ran high in Wednesday night’s softball showdown between Pella Christian and Pella High – heard live on kniakrls.com – with the Lady Eagles leaving the field feeling both the joy of victory and the sadness of a loss in a 6-2 triumph over the Lady Dutch.
Pella Christian entered the game with heavy hearts, having learned that morning of the passing of friend and classmate Megan Hoogeveen – who had been battling illness since the spring.
After Pella put up two quick runs in the first inning, Lady Eagles’ Head Coach Nate Van Wyk thought the emotional day may have taken its toll on the team. But Pella Christian held strong through three scoreless innings before breaking out with three hits and three runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth to earn the win.
Van Wyk said some changes in the bottom of the line-up and capitalizing on some opportunities helped his girls secure the win.
“We shuffled some things around there a little bit in the bottom [of the line-up], and then a combination of key hits by us a couple of mental errors by Pella opened things wide up,” said Van Wyk. “As you saw tonight, you don’t have to hit the ball all that hard, you just have to put the ball in play and make the defense work.”
Shelby Weaver scored twice while going 3-for-3 at the plate and stole two bases. Ashley Van Kooten also stole a pair of bases and scored twice for Pella Christian as she went 2-for-3 from the batter’s box.
In all, Pella Christian had 11 hits, while pitcher Paige Blom limited Pella to five hits. Blom struck out seven and walked two in the winning effort. Her counterpart, Pella’s Mandy DeMeulenaere, also pitched well, striking out six and walking just one.
The Lady Dutch did, however, commit three errors, along with some other mistakes in the field that coach Krista DeMeulenaere says the team will have to put behind them to get ready for Knoxville.
“There were definitely some miscues defensively for us. We struggled to pick up the ball a little bit a couple of times; struggled to cover some bases,” said DeMeulenaere. “We’ve been playing fantastic softball [lately], so I have no worries for Friday. I think that Pella High’s going to brush themselves off and we’re gonna come play.”
Whitney Williams led the Pella offense, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
The loss drops the Lady Dutch to 16-7 overall and 9-3 in the Little Hawkeye Conference entering Friday’s game at Knoxville, while the Pella Christian softball team improves to 16-7 overall and 9-4 in league play entering a game Thursday evening with Norwalk.