MARYVILLE, Mo. — Maryville's Ella Schulte and Savannah's Kenzie Schoper had a good old-fashioned pitcher's duel going into the fifth inning of Tuesday's MEC opener at the Hound Pound.
In the end, it was a couple big swings which delivered Savannah (4-0) a 4-2 victory.
The biggest of those swings came from Savannah senior shortstop Kaia Calloway with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.
Schulte had allowed just two hits to that point, but Calloway jumped on her pitch and ripped a two-run home run to left-center. The round-tripper broke what had been a scoreless tie.
Schulte finished the the inning with a strikeout and her final stat line ended up as five innings, three hits, two earned runs, eight strikeouts and two walks.
“I thought she had a great game on the mound tonight,” Maryville coach Chandra DeMott said. “Honestly, she threw a great game last night, so I was not surprised to see that.”
Emily Cassavaugh led off the bottom of the fifth inning by slapping a single to left, which was mis-handled and allowed her to go to second. That is as far as she got as she was stranded there.
Cassavaugh came in to pitch the sixth inning in relief of Schulte. She hadn't pitched in four years dating back to her club-ball days with the Trojanettes, but DeMott is eager to get her on the mound some this inning.
“That is honestly the first time in a game scenario in four years so I really didn't think she did a bad job,” DeMott said.
Savannah tacked on a pair of insurance runs with back-to-back two-out doubles and expanded the lead to 4-2 before Ashlyn Alexander came in to get the final out of the inning.
The Spoofhounds mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, Briley Watkins reaching on an error, Alexander walking and Cassavaugh doubling. Cassavaugh's knock scored Watkins and the Hounds' brought the tying run to the plate with no outs.
“It has just been kind of hard to get in a rhythm, not just with all this COVID stuff, but you get a week of rain, a week of no games and it just gets hard to find a rhythm,” DeMott said. “Tonight's lineup was a different lineup than we've had the last few game, we are just continuing to shake things up as much as we can to figure out what works, and I think we a kind of starting to get there.”
Alonna Cross attempted to bunt for a hit, but Savannah made the play for an out at first while Alexander scored and Cassavaugh went to third. Freshman Jerrica Hess pinch hit, but stuck out.
Schoper stuck out Abby Swink to end the game with lead-off hitter Schulte in the on-deck circle.
Maryville (1-4) will attempt to get into the MEC win column on Thursday when the team travels to Benton.
“I'll be honest, in early August, I didn't even think we were going to make it to September,” DeMott said. “To be where we are at right now, I think we are all just thankful for that.”
North Harrison 3, Maryville 0
The Shamrocks used a three-hitter to beat Maryville 3-0 on Monday at the Hound Pound.
Ella Schulte led the Spoofhound offense with two hits while allowing just one earned run in seven innings on the mound.