A five-run fifth inning by Pella High broke open a tightly contested contest with cross-county rival Knoxville on the softball diamond Wednesday night, helping the Lady Dutch come away with a 10-2 victory. Entering the fifth inning, Pella held just a 2-1 advantage, but Allie DeMeulenaere led off with a single, setting in motion a series of steals and bunts that kept runners moving around the base paths for the Dutch; and resulted in a 7-1 advantage by the time the dust settled.
Pella head coach Krista DeMeulenaere credited her team on sticking with the gameplan through the tightly contested early innings of the game.
“We just kept coming up to the plate believing it was going to happen. Steph Christner from Knoxville does a great job with the players that she has and how she plays her defense,” said DeMeulenaere. “I thought we were hitting the ball pretty solid, but they were right there; but I also knew that if we got some baserunners, we were going to be able to run. Pella’s got great speed – and we’re getting more aggressive on the bases – and that is ultimately what happened.”
The Panthers were unable to counter in the top of the sixth inning and Pella added three more runs to seal the victory. Lexi McGinley led the list of four Pella players with two hits, as she finished 2-for-4 with a triple, 2 runs and 2 RBI. Bri Arkema earned the win, as she spread around four hits and walked seven Knoxville batters, along with two strikeouts.
All four of Knoxville’s hits came from separate players, and Emily Wallace took the loss, allowing 12 hits, but striking out three and giving up just one walk. Despite the setback, Knoxville head coach Steph Christner says her young team is doing some good things as they continue to get used to their starting roles.
“I think some of them are stepping in, doing a nice job, and getting way more comfortable,” said Christner. “They made some great plays – Carrie Chambers made a diving catch in left [field] – so there were good plays made throughout the night – but we just need to learn to make every play and not just a few.”
The win moves Pella High to 12-4 overall and 4-1 in the Little Hawkeye Conference. They’ll have today off before finishing their first trip through the league schedule on Friday at Norwalk. The Knoxville softball team slides to 5-11 overall and 2-4 in the conference. They are also off today before hosting Pella Christian on Friday.