Challenging road games await the St. Joseph-Ogden High School softball team at the start of this week.
But the Spartans will carry a two-game win streak into Wednesday’s 4:30 p.m. Illini Prairie Conference game at Olympia after the Spartans easily won 17-0 in four innings last Wednesday at St. Thomas More in Illini Prairie play.
SJO (15-5, 4-2 Illini Prairie) scored in every inning during its convincing win at STM, with Sophie Martlage throwing a four-hit shutout.
The Spartans were scheduled to host nonconference foe Casey-Westfield this past Friday, but Casey-Westfield had to make up a conference game instead.
Hannah Dukeman went 3 for 3 with four RBI and a home run to go along with two stolen bases at STM, while Bailey Dowling also hit a home run and went 2 for 4 with two RBI. Claire Huffman (2 for 3, four RBI), Katie Poulter (2 for 2, two runs scored, RBI) and Raegan Crippen (2 for 4, two runs scored) also had multiple hits in helping SJO to a win.
The Spartans took a 6-0 lead in the top of the first and never looked back. Dukeman delivered an RBI single to plate SJO’s first run before Savannah Smith reached on an error, allowing Dukeman to score and put SJO up 2-0.
A sacrifice fly by Lauren Trankina, a two-run double by Huffman and Huffman coming around to score on a wild pitch gave SJO its six-run lead before STM batted.
An RBI single by Kaylee Ward in the second increased SJO’s lead to 7-0 before the Spartans broke the game open with an eight-run third inning.
Audrey Short walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second after a single by Crippen.
Aggressive base-running by Short and Crippen advanced them to second and third before Dowling grounded into a fielder’s choice to plate Short. Dukeman then drilled a three-run home run over the left field fence to give SJO a comfortable 11-0 lead.
With two outs, the Spartans mounted another scoring surge. Smith singled and came around to score on an RBI single by Poulter. A two-run single by Huffman and an RBI single by Short capped the scoring for the Spartans, who led 15-0 after three innings.
Dowling led off the fourth with a solo home run to right field and SJO capped its scoring when courtesy runner Kelsey Martlidge came around to score on an error to put SJO ahead 17-0.
Martlage scattered four hits in her four innings of work in the pitcher’s circle and struck out six while not walking a batter.
The Spartans will get back on the road for another Illini Prairie game at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Pontiac. SJO is slated to return home for a 4:30 p.m. Illini Prairie game on Thursday against Monticello before the Spartans host Meridian and Salt Fork in a triangular this Saturday that starts at 10 a.m.