Crazy opening day for RI, UT softball teams


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Posted Online: April 05, 2013, 10:21 pm
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By Marc Nesseler, nesseler@qconline.com
Rock Island junior Hailey Feldhahn and freshman Bri Hart didn't want to have to spend six days thinking about their odd and unfortunate end to the first game of their Western Big 6 Conference-opening softball doubleheader Friday afternoon.

So, on the heels of that 9-8 victory by United Township, the Rocks' leadoff and No. 9 hitter keyed a second-game comeback that left the two teams tied at 4 in a game suspended by darkness after four innings.

It will resume at 4:30 p.m. Thursday back at RI's Frances Willard field, moved from UT where a nonconference game was to be played on that day.

"I was real disappointed, but I have teammates that helped pick me back up," said Feldhahn, who hit her second home run of the day to set the stage for Hart's fourth-inning RBI single that left the second game knotted for a few days.

Feldhahn's disappointed stemmed from the bottom of the seventh of UT's opening win. Down by one after De'Aysha Walker's three-run homer, Hart worked a two-out walk to bring up Feldhahn, who had a double and a homer earlier in that game. Feldhahn worked a full count, but started down to first on ball 3, which led to Hart mistakenly trotting to second.

"I credit 'Gus' (UT catcher Mackenzie Gustafson) and our bench for being alert," UT coach John Alonzo said of pitcher Heather Johnson getting their gist and getting the pickoff at first for the game-ending out. "We knew there were three balls."

Alonzo admitted that the Panthers were trying to pitch around Feldhahn, wary of her power.
"Both Bri and our first-base coach came back to the dugout and said, 'I screwed up; I thought it was ball 4.' I can live with that," said RI coach Steve Ebner.

With UT building a 4-0 lead after three innings of game 2, Feldhahn and Hart made quick amends. Feldhahn and classmate Jasmine Ragusi hit home runs in the third inning, and Hart drove in Walker in the fourth to complete the comeback.

Thus, no need to worry about spending days worrying about how to come from behind.

"Actually, I'm kind of relieved that it's tied" when the game was stopped, said Alonzo. "We hit the ball well, but we don't bash the ball like they do. We're going to have to manufacture runs."

The Rocks (2-4, 0-1) had six home runs in the 11 innings of WB6 play – three by Ragusi, two by Feldhahn and one by Walker. Plus, Ebner says he has three others in the top six of his lineup with home-run power.

"I've coached for 31 years and I've never seen a team hit six home runs in one doubleheader," said Ebner, who will be inducted tonight in the state's football Hall of Fame, thus having the games moved to Friday.

And to think it wasn't even a full doubleheader.

It should make for an interesting finish on Thursday. UT, having finished only its second game (1-1) and with no game until Thursday, had an offense that was just as impressive.

Leadoff hitter Brooke Prior went 4-for-5 in the first game and added a third double on the day in the nightcap. Courtney Markin was 4-for-7 with two doubles. Heather Johnson, Megan Ballegeer, Natalie Brown, Sydnee Vallejo and Gustafson each had two hits, with the Panthers totaling 20 hits in 11 innings.

UT also proved to be opportunistic, chalking up eight unearned runs in the opener and another two in the second game.

















 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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