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Rangerettes winning streak snapped

  • Benton's Lili Wilkerson makes this catch in left field for the Benton softball team in recent game action against Hardin County.

    Benton's Lili Wilkerson makes this catch in left field for the Benton softball team in recent game action against Hardin County.
    JON LeBLOND | For The News

 
BY GEARY DENISTON
Contributing Writer
updated: 4/2/2019 11:31 AM

The Benton Rangerettes came into last week on a five-game winning streak and extended it to seven with two home wins, but lost for the first time in almost two weeks on the road to Johnston City, 7-2, last Thursday, and continued the slide Monday with a 6-1 loss to Herrin to open their Ohio Division River to River Conference schedule.

"First conference game of the year on the road in Herrin and it was one of those games you would like to have back," said Benton coach Ryan Miller. "I would say we are looking forward to playing them again because that is a team we can compete with and I believe we can beat them next time we play them if we clean a few things up and hit the ball."

Last week, Zoe Carlton and Cailyn Fowlkes batted .500 with six hits each in 12 at-bats with Fowlkes driving in three runs and Carlton one. Carlton also had two doubles. Lacey Jerkins also had a good week with a .400 batting average with six hits in 15 at-bats, including two doubles and a triple, with two RBIs

Against Johnston City Kiley Carter (5-3) pitched in back-to-back games for the first time giving up seven earned runs on eight hits while the Rangerettes were held to just two hits by Briley Watts.

Carter was again in the circle against Herrin giving up six runs - four earned - on seven hits. On the plus side, Carter spoiled the shutout bid by Herrin pitcher Ali Paintner, driving in a run in the top of the seventh on a ground ball out.

"We didn't have a lot of energy today for some reason," Miller said. "We just had a hard time stringing hits together. Their pitcher did a nice job keeping us off balance with a changeup. We had a couple of throwing errors that kind of causes some of the stuff that happened."

Carlton was Benton's top hitter going, 2-for-3 with Fowlkes and Kortney Wilcox going 1-for-3 with a double and Addysin Miller and Jerkins 1-for-4.

Benton (7-5, 0-1 Ohio) opened the week with an 8-6 come-from-behind win over Hardin County. Miller's stint on the mound got off to a bad start when a two-base error on the first batter of the game led to Hardin County taking a 2-0 lead.

Benton took the lead in the bottom of the first on a one-out ground ball to third by Courtney Reno and a two-out single by Fowlkes. After the teams traded runs in the second Hardin County retook the lead in the third with three runs starting with another leadoff two-base error.

One out later, Miller gave up a double that tied the score again and sent Miller to second base with Emily Melvin taking over on the mound. Melvin stint got off to a shaky start with a base hit to put runners at the corners followed by a passed ball to give Hardin the lead.

After a base hit that put runners at the corners again Melvin got her first out on a ground ball to second, but another run scored to up the lead to 6-4. Melvin got out of the inning on a comebacker.

Melvin retired the next six batters to maintain the two-run deficit heading into the bottom of the fifth. After the three-run first Jacie Jones had held Benton to just two base runners over the next three innings and had retired six in a row when Jerkins tripled with two outs. Jones walked Miller and Carlton made her pay with double to left scoring Jerkins and sending Miller to third where she scored to tie the game on a passed ball.

Melvin pitched around a one-out single on an unassisted double play to the first baseman to keep the score tied 6-6. A two-base error got the bottom of the sixth off to a good start and a two-out walk to Carter kept it going. Jerkins followed with her third hit in four at-bats and second consecutive triple to clear the bases and give the Rangerettes a 8-6 lead.

Melvin pitched around two-out double to pick up the win in relief. Carlton finished with three hits in three at-bats, including a double, with a RBI and a run scored.

Benton made it seven in a row the next day behind the four-hit pitching of Carter and the hitting of Wilcox and Fowlkes with two hits each to beat Vienna, 6-2.

The Rangerettes continue the conference schedule hosting West Frankfort on Tuesday before hitting the road to play Harrisburg Thursday.

On Friday, Benton steps outside the conference to host Unity Christian at 5 p.m. and Saturday at the Lindenwood University-Belleville Invitational to play Breese Mater Dei and Stewardson-Strasburg. Benton returns to the conference at Massac County Monday and hosting Murphysboro Tuesday.