The Nashville Hornettes won their fifth straight regional championship Saturday. Front row, from left: Karly Stanowski, Brooke Burcham, Jordi Harre, Emily Thompson and Paige Kasten. Back row: Brooke Bartling, Joey Lane, Diedra Holzhauer, Maci Ingram, Daley Buchanan, Jordan Stiegman, Alli Liske and Mackenzie McFeron.
By Travis Volz
Big game pitchers do not get much better than Nashville’s Maci Ingram.
The Hornettes’ senior ace picked up two more postseason wins last week, capped with an overpowering performance in Nashville’s win over Red Bud in the championship of the Nashville Regional Saturday.
After mowing through Gibault’s lineup with five perfect innings in the regional semifinal last Tuesday, Ingram pitched another dandy in the Hornettes’ 6-1 win over Red Bud Saturday.
“We almost take it for granted how good she is sometimes, and she really came through for us again today,” Nashville coach Dempsey Witte said of his ace.
Ingram allowed just one hit through the first six innings before the Lady Musketeers strung together a couple of hits and scored a meaningless run in their final at bat. She finished with a dozen strikeouts.
Daley Buchanan had a big day at the plate for Nashville, finishing 3-for-3 with two runs batted in. She broke a scoreless tie with a two-run double in the fourth, and she doubled and scored in the sixth.
“Daley’s battled through injuries this year, so its good to have her bat back in the lineup,” Witte said. “That was a big hit for us today.”
For three innings, pitching ruled the day, as both teams hung zeroes on the board. But Emily Thompson doubled to start the the Hornettes’ rally in the fourth. Diedra Holzhauer was hit by a pitch following Thompson’s double, and Buchanan drove a pitch to the centerfield fence to plate the game’s first two runs.
Thompson hit a sacrifice fly in the Hornettes’ three-run fifth innings, and Buchanan doubled and scored in the sixth to account for the Nashville offense.
Ingram was good Saturday, but she was perfect Tuesday, facing the minimum and striking out ten in the Hornettes’ 10-0 win over Gibault.
She did not need much offense, but she got plenty. Buchanan hit an RBI triple, and Thompson and Brooke Burcham drove in runs in the host team’s four-run first inning.
Burcham cranked a two-run homer in the third inning, and the Hornettes poured it on with four runs in the fourth to salt away the win.
Thompson was 3-for-3 and drove in two runs, Burcham went yard and finished with three RBI, and Harre, Mackenzie McFeron and Karly Stanowski all recorded multi-hit games.
Nashville (34-2) moved on to the Carterville Sectional where the Hornettes faced Pinckneyville Tuesday afternoon. The championship game is set for Saturday with the Johnston City Super-Sectional set for Monday.