The Tri-City United and Belle Plaine softball teams were locked in a stalemate on Thursday. Evenly matched, the Titans and the Tigers stood scoreless for three innings. But Belle Plaine was the more consistent hitting team and won the game 3-1 in seven innings.
Both the Titans and the Tigers proved effective at shutting out their opponents. The Titans struggled to deal with Belle Plaine’s pitcher, who picked up 12 strikeouts over the seven innings. Peyton Singleton was the first and only Titan to earn a single hit, and it came in the last inning. Molly Closser, Kacie Traxler, Ava Peterson and Nikaija Young all drew walks.
Belle Plaine had more hits with a total of seven, but the Titans' play on the field cut the Tigers off. Capturing five fly outs and six ground outs, the Titans kept the Tigers at bay. Pitcher Ellaina Novak threw two strikeouts and 49 strikes over 68 pitches.
The stalemate continued until the top of the fourth inning, when Belle Plaine hit a solo home run. The Titans then took the Tigers batters out one-two-three, catching a ground out and two fly outs, but the pressure to collect a run was heating up for TCU.
Both teams were scoreless in the fifth, but Belle Plaine put two more home runs on the board, leading TCU 3-0.
It all came down to the seventh. The Titans needed three runs to extend the game, and Peyton Singleton delivered their first hit of the game, a single. Eventually, the bases loaded, putting Singleton on third. Nikaija Young walked, allowing Singleton to score.
With one run and two girls on base, the Titans had an opportunity for a last-inning comeback, but Belle Plaine found a final strikeout, shutting down the Titans rally and taking the game 3-1.