MOUNT CARMEL -- Mount Carmel High School alumnus and current Rend Lake sophomore softball player Carmen Deisher returned home on Friday for a doubleheader against her hometown Lady Warriors.
Having lost both times to the [Wabash Valley] Warriors last season in her return, Deisher was assuredly seeking a win over her hometown team in her last season at Rend Lake in likely the last matchup between the two teams this season.
Deisher and her Lady Warriors lost both matchups to Wabash Valley, falling 2-1 and 5-1 in the doubleheader on Friday evening against a scorching hot Wabash Valley team, which extended its win streak to 17 games with the victories.
One of Wabash Valley's aces, freshman Kaitlynn Bennett, took the mound and threw a strong outing. Bennett encountered some trouble in the first inning, when Rend Lake's first two batters, Deisher and Katie Schuetz led the game off with a pair of singles off of Bennett. Deisher would eventually score on a fielders choice to put Rend Lake on the board first with a 1-0 lead.
Wabash Valley College came up in the bottom half of the first, looking to reassure Bennett with some run support -- they did just that. Sophomore Kyndell Ethridge knocked in freshman Maddie Duncan with an RBI double to score the Lady Warriors' first run of the game and tie it at 1-1. Freshman Sydni Cosby knocked in Ethridge on an RBI single with two outs to give Wabash Valley a 2-1 lead, a lead that would hold. Bennett and sophomore Paige Byrd would reach base to load the bases for freshman Mariah Clark. Clark lined out to second base, stranding the three runners and ending the inning.
After a rough first inning, Bennett and Rend Lake pitcher Kalyn Crider started on a roll, each throwing scoreless frames for the remainder of the game and retiring Lady Warrior hitters.
Fast forward to the top of the seventh, hope looked grim for Rend Lake and it appeared as if Wabash Valley was set to notch another win to add to their ever growing win streak. Bennett, who was seeking a complete game, retired the first two batters of the inning and had Rend Lake down to their last out. That last out, fittingly, was Deisher.
Deisher stepped to the plate and battled for a two out single, keeping Rend Lake's hopes of a rally alive. Deisher's single provided an immense spark and had fans from both sides nervous.
The next batter reached on a Wabash Valley error, subsequently another Rend Lake hitter reached on an error and loaded the bases with two out and the game on the line and Crider at the dish. Longtime Wabash Valley College head softball coach Paul Schnarre went to the mound to calm Bennett and allow her the opportunity to regain her composure prior to the most consequential out of the game.
Bennett battled and forced Crider to groundout to third, where it was cleanly fielded and smoothly thrown to first for the out. For Wabash Valley, a massive sight of relief undoubtedly, on the Rend Lake side, likely significant disappointment with how close they were to rallying.
Ethridge finished 2-for-3 with a run, a double and an RBI and Cosby posted a 1-for-3 line with an RBI for Wabash Valley. Deisher led Rend Lake with her 3-for-4 performance, scoring the lone run of the day for the [opposing] Lady Warriors.
In the pitching battle, Bennett (12-4) threw seven innings of six-hit, one run, four strikeout baseball to best Crider (5-8), who threw six innings, allowing seven hits, two runs and fanning three batters.
The second game of the day would be all Wabash Valley. Clark took the mound for the Lady Warriors and threw another strong outing for coach Schnarre's team -- and had a luxurious amount of run support.
Leading off the game, freshman Kennedy Harris knocked out a solo home run for Wabash Valley, giving them a very early 1-0 advantage. Cosby later singled in the inning to drive home Duncan and giving the Lady Warriors a 2-0 lead after one inning.
In the third inning Cosby singled, which was followed by a two-run home run over the left-center field fence for Bennett and increasing Wabash Valley's lead to 4-0.
Wabash Valley's final run of the game would come off of another solo shot by Harris, her second of the game and extending the lead to 5-0.
Rend Lake would at last score off of Clark in the sixth inning, but managed just one run as Wabash Valley coasted to the doubleheader sweep.
Harris went 3-for-3 with a pair of homers, two runs and two RBIs, as well as Bennett's 2-for-3 performance with a homer, a run and a pair of RBIs. Notably, Deisher went 1-for-3 for Rend Lake and scored their lone run of the game.
Clark (12-2) went seven strong innings, allowing six hits, fanning three batters and just one run in her complete game. Rend Lake's pitcher, Meagan Kralj (2-6), was roughed up for nine hits and five runs in six frames of action.
In her final games against her hometown Lady Warriors, Deisher posted a 4-for-7 day and totaled two runs.
With the pair of victories Wabash Valley (24-8) remained scorching hot heading into their Saturday road doubleheader against SWIC (which they split, snapping their 18-game winning streak).
Wabash Valley will return to action on Tuesday with a home doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. against Olney Central.
WVC -- 2 0 0 0 0 0 X -- 2
RL -- 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 1
WVC -- 2 0 2 1 0 0 X -- 5
RL -- 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 -- 1
Notable Wabash Valley hitting: Harris 4-for-6, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBIs. Bennett 2-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBIs. Cosby 3-for-6, R, 2 RBIs. Ethridge 2-for-4, R, 2B, RBI.
Game one WP: Bennett (12-4) 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 K. -- LP: Crider (5-8) 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
Game two WP: Clark (12-2) 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 K. -- LP: Krajl (2-6) 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K.