The Tri-City United softball team added a third win to its 3-5 record on Thursday. Facing off against Sibley East, the Titans overcame a slow start to top the Wolverines 8-2.
The first inning was scoreless for both teams, but after pitcher Ellaina Novak struck out three batters in the top of the first and second innings, the Titans had an opportunity to take the lead at the bottom of the second. Anastasia Rynda led off the inning with a walk and scored off a single by Payton Singleton. Rachel Rynda singled and earned the Titans' second run on a walk.
The Wolverines fell 1-2-3 in the third over two ground outs and a strikeout. Anastasia Rynda collected another run at the bottom, singling and and later walking to home. The fourth inning was scoreless, but in the fifth the Wolverines began to catch up. On an error, Sibley East produced two runs and were now down just 3-2.
The pressure was on, but the Titans continued to have trouble scoring. After one hit, the Titans were shut out on two fielder’s choices and pop out. But the Titans gave themselves more room to score after shutting out the Wolverines in the top of the sixth. Shortstop Lexi Factor tagged a batter caught stealing on second, followed shortly by Novak catching a groundout. Third baseman Molly Closser then caught a ground out, knocking out the Wolverines.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Titans finally had the inning they needed to secure their advantage. After singles by Andra Sherman and Lexi Factor, Closser knocked in both batters and raised the Titans score to 5-2. The Titans soon collected two more runs as Novak batted in Closser and Brooke Blaschko on a double. Novak collected the final run on a single by Anastasia Rynda, placing the Titans at 8-2.
The Wolverines had just one opportunity for an upset, but the Titans quickly thwarted the opposing team in a fielder’s choice, strikeout and ground out
“We seemed to start off a little slow tonight at the plate, but in the second inning we got our offense started when Payton Singleton singled on a 2-0 count, scoring one run,” said TCU Coach Kelly Jo Closser. “We had a big five-run sixth inning started with a hit by Andra Sherman and then driven by singles by Molly Closser and Anastasia Rynda and a double by Novak. We still have some work to do defensively, but we can see they are progressively getting better every time we step on the field. “
Anastasia Rynda led the team with two runs and two hits over three times at bat. Blaschko, Closser, Novak, Rachel Rynda, Sherman and Factor contributed one run each. Closser, Novak and Payton Singleton led in RBIs with two each and the team collected eight RBIs total alongside 11 hits.
Pitching for seven innings, Novak struck out six.