STRYKER – Pettisville played like a different team after the Blackbirds grabbed the lead, and the result was a 7-2 win Tuesday on the road at Stryker in Buckeye Border Conference action.
Pettisville trailed 2-1 until Sydney Purtee put the Blackbirds in front for good with a three-run double to deep center field. Before that, a fielder’s choice, single and hit batter loaded the bases.
Stryker pitcher Emma Shindledecker looked to get out of trouble when she recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but Purtee drilled the second pitch she saw in the at-bat past the centerfielder’s head for a bases-clearing double and a 4-2 Pettisville lead.
“It was a big momentum-changer,” Pettisville coach Kendra Stahl said of the hit that put her team out in front for the rest of the afternoon. “Early on, it took us a little time to adjust. Coming over here, it can be tough playing in Stryker. As soon as Sydney hit that big fly ball and cleared the bases, that was a big momentum-changer in our favor.”
Purtee was also a part of a three-run seventh inning when Pettisville tacked on some insurance runs. A single and walk put two runners on for Sami Tilley, who singled between the third baseman and shortstop. Samantha Boger, who was at second, was waved around third and scored on the play.
After a strikeout, Purtee drove in another run when she singled in Kyra Behnfeldt from second base. After the second out was recorded, Brittney Sauder tacked on the final run when she placed a single through the left side, plating Tilley.
The lead was enough for Behnfeldt in the circle. She left a runner stranded at third in the fourth inning – and once the Birds took the lead – she allowed just one base runner in the final three innings – a one-out walk to Shindledecker in the sixth.
“As a pitcher, when you get some runs on your side, it gives you a little bit of a cushion,” explained Stahl about the waning innings. “Instead of slacking off, she stepped up and went that much harder. She’s the kind of kid who would do that.”
Stryker took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Taylor Haines was hit by a pitch to start the inning, moved up on a single and advanced the final two spots on passed balls. Kaitlyn Wonders added a RBI triple to the right field corner in the third for a 2-0 lead.
“There was all sorts of thoughts going through my head then,” Stahl said about falling behind early. “But, there was a lot of game left. I didn’t want to panic. I was just waiting for our team to make the adjustments they needed to.”
Pettisville used a pair of Stryker errors to score a run in the top of the fourth to cut the score to 2-1.
Behnfeldt finished the game with seven strikeouts and one walk. She allowed two runs on four hits to get the win.
Purtee finished with two singles and a double, drove in four and scored a run. Sauder also had two hits. Behnfeldt, Tilley and Boger all scored twice.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Birds (4-8, 2-4 BBC).
“It was a tough go there for a little bit,” commented Stahl on the streak. “We’ve had some pretty good competition the last few days. We’re still learning and we’re still growing. Hopefully game-by-game we’re still getting better.”
The two teams are scheduled to play again today in Pettisville.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org