The Knoxville and Pella Christian softball teams needed extra innings to decide the outcome of Wednesday night’s Little Hawkeye Conference match-up, with the Panthers hanging on for a 7-6 win in 8 innings.
Pella Christian got off to a quick start, though, thanks in part to a first-pitch, lead-off home run by catcher Tessa Howerzyl in the bottom of the first inning. Trailing 2-0, Knoxville came back to score 4 runs and take the lead in the second frame. Unfazed, the Lady Eagles added two more runs in the third inning to tie the contest at 4-4.
Knoxville maintained a hot presence at the plate, adding a single run in both the fourth and fifth innings, before both teams stayed quiet in the sixth. Trailing by two in the bottom of the seventh, Pella Christian came up with the rally they needed, tying the game at 6-6 and forcing extra innings.
In the eighth, the Panthers got the needed productivity out of the bottom of their line-up, with Marissa Lenger slapping a double to the outfield that would send home the eventual game-winning run. It wasn’t quite that easy, though, as the Lady Eagles made another run in the bottom of the 8th. With runners on second and third and one out, Sami Veenstra hit what appeared to be a sacrifice fly to left field that sent home Tessa Howerzyl as the game-tying run. However, an umpire’s call ruled that Howerzyl had left third base too soon on the tag-up, and with Lauren Jungling advancing to third, Howerzyl would be called out for the final out of the contest.
The win gives the Knoxville softball team a 2-4 overall record entering Saturday’s tournament in Oskaloosa; while Pella Christian remains in search of that elusive first victory. The Lady Eagles are 0-6 and play again on Friday at Grinnell.