The Nashville Hornettes won their seventh straight Regional Championship on Thursday night with a 2-0 win over Harrisburg. Back Row: Brock Wuebbles, Shaun Renth, Jenna McClintock, Hayley Kujawa, Kyleigh Guinzy, Sophie Heck, Addi Gale, Jenna Harris, Libby Ahlers, Bailey Melton, Olivia Cook, Taylor Rapp, Charlie Heck, and Hannah Yung. Front Row: Paige Kasten, Jordan Stiegman, Brooke Burcham, Karly Stanowski, Alli Liske, Mackenzie McFeron, Brooke Bartling, Joey Lane, and Helen Dude.
By Brent Huelsmann
For the seventh consecutive season, the Nashville Hornettes are Regional Champions. The Hornettes defeated West Frankfort in the Regional Semi-Finals before taking down Harrisburg in a pitchers duel to capture the Regional Championship. Nashville’s record stands 22-13 on the season as the Hornettes move into the Harrisburg Sectional.
In their first game of the postseason, the Hornettes put together a late run to defeat West Frankfort 9-4.
Nashville got out of the gate quickly As the Hornettes put up three in the bottom of the first inning. Mackenzie McFeron led off the game with a single before stealing second, and scoring on an errant throw. Paige Kasten would score the Hornettes second run of the game on a single by Karly Stanowski, before Sophie Heck doubled home the third run.
The Hornettes would stay up by three until the third, when West Frankfort took advantage of an error, to push two runs across the plate. West Frankfort would tie the game in the fifth, on a sac fly in which Heck made a diving play in center field to rob a hit.
The game would not be tied for long, as in the bottom half of the fifth, Stanowski
crushed a ball over the center field wall to break the tie, giving Nashville a 4-3 lead. Later in the inning, Alli Liske would add to the lead as she singled home Jordan Stiegman. Jenna Harris would follow up Liske’s single with a double, which pushed two runs across the plate to extend the Hornettes lead to 7-3.
The final two runs of the game for the Hornettes came on a two-run Home Run by Stiegman in the sixth. West Frankfort would add a run in the seventh, but could not make a comeback, as Nashville advanced to the Regional Championship.
After the game, coach Shaun Renth talked about the coming back after West Frankfort tied the game. “You have to answer, anytime they get runs and
tie it back up, you have to answer and our girls did a great job of that. Karly hit that ball great and after that we kind of took off.”
Renth went on to talk about the pitching to contact., “It’s been the way we’ve been all year. Pitch to contact, we are not going to strike a lot of batters out, we know that, and just have to be ready to make plays when we have to, and for the most part we did that today. Cut down our mistakes and if we do that, we’re gonna be ok.”
Stiegman led the way with three hits, including a two-run home run. Harris also notched three hits and drove in two runs. Stanowski finished with two hits, one of which was a home run. McFeron finished 2-4 in the game with three stolen bases, while Heck drove in one run on a double, Alli Liske finished 1-3 with a RBI and a run. Brooke Burcham walked twice and scored a run in the win. Guinzy pitched all seven innings for Nashville.
In the Regional Championship, the Hornettes withstood a couple lightning delays before they defeated Harrisburg 2-0.
The team’s got one pitch into the game, before lightning caused the team’s to stop play. A pitcher’s duel throughout, two freshmen, Nashville’s Kyleigh Guinzy, and Harrisburg’s Lydia Miller traded zeroes throughout much of the game.
Harrisburg made a lot of contact throughout the game, but Nashville got great defense in the field. The Hornettes got great defense up the middle and in the outfield, including a sliding catch by Stiegman in the sixth inning to keep Harrisburg off the basepaths. Guinzy only had one strikeout in the game, which happened to come on the final out, clinching the Regional Championship.
After the two pitchers traded zeroes through the first five innings of play, Nashville finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning. Heck tripled on a deep fly ball with one out, and came around to score, what would be the game-winning run on a single by Liske. Nashville would grab another run on a RBI single by Ahlers to take a 2-0 advantage.
In the seventh, Harrisburg would go down 1=2=3, as the Hornettes would clinch their seventh consecutive Regional Championship.
After the game, Renth talked about Guinzy’s performance in the circle. “You can’t say enough about Kyleigh’s performance on the mound. That’s a huge huge performance by her. She just did a great job for us today, and it’s a team effort and the defense did just tremendous behind her.”
Renth went on to talk about his team’s defense in the game. “We were solid all around today. Mack made three or four, and Jordan with that huge catch, Alli made a nice tag. Early in the game, Karly made a nice stop on a pitch in the dirt with a runner on third. Those are big plays. That’s what we have been preaching to them all year, and they did it today. You have to play your best when you have to and they did that.”
Offensively, Liske had just one hit in the game, but it ended up being the game winning hit. Liske finished the game 1-2 with a RBI and a walk Libby. Ahlers was the only Hornette to record more than one hit, as she finished the game 2-3 with a RBI. Heck got the rally started in the sixth, as she hit a triple with one out, and came around to score. McFeron and Stanowski each recorded a hit in the win. Burcham was hit by a pitch in the sixth, and came around to score. Kasten and Harris each reached base via the walk in the game. Guinzy pitched all seven for Nashville, completing the three-hit shutout with a strikeout to end the game.