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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Stingers' ace strikes out 17 in win over Indians

by on April 18, 2014 10:39 AM

Indiana entered Thursday afternoon’s game against Marion Center prepared for a battle, but the Indians barely put up a fight.

Stingers standout Megan Risinger struck out 17 and allowed just one hit in Marion Center’s 9-1 victory in a non-conference softball game at the Indiana Little League Complex.

The Class AAA team from the WPIAL knew that its Heritage Conference opponent was good, but the Indians, who have lost five straight, expected a better showing.

“We were hoping that we’d be able to get a few more hits than that,” Indiana coach Harold Wilson said. “We must’ve left our bats somewhere else today. Megan’s a nice pitcher, and we knew that coming in, but we still wanted to get some hits.”

Marion Center improved to 5-0 and has given up only seven hits so far this season. Risinger already has a pair of one-hitters and a perfect game under her belt in her junior year. She struck out the side three times Thursday.

“She works so hard at it,” Marion Center coach Ed Peterson said. “You will never see a girl work harder than Megan does. If she doesn’t pitch at practice, she’ll go home and pitch. She works at it every day. She comes out every day with the luxury of having a good defense behind her, but we did get a little sloppy in the one inning. With her, if we can get 10 hits a game and keep our errors down, we will win most games.”

The Stingers jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings but didn’t score again until the sixth.

Courtney McMahan and Karlie Snyder hit back-to-back doubles in the first inning, and Risinger followed with an RBI single to left to put the Stingers up 2-0.

In the second inning, freshman Laken Ryen hit a two-run home run, and Katie Dotts cracked a three-run homer four batters later.

“After those first couple innings, things settled down,” Wilson said. “We had a few mistakes early and they got a couple home runs, but after that, it was a decent game.”

The Indians managed their lone run in the third when Sarah Coffman, who was walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, scored on a throwing error on a routine ground ball.

Risinger drilled a two-run triple to right field in the top of the sixth to round out the Stingers’ scoring. She finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Snyder finished with three hits, and Ryen and Dotts each had two.

“If you pitch well and play good defense, you can usually scratch out a few runs,” Peterson said. “We have a very good hitting team. We’ve been juggling the order a little bit, but it’s coming along. We do a lot of situational hitting, and that helps when you get to a game. This is probably the best hitting bunch I’ve had since I’ve been here. They just get after it.”

Marion Center hasn’t seen a lot of game time, though, due to bad weather and hadn’t played in a week. Thursday’s game had been postponed twice.

“We’ve had to go inside a lot because the field has been wet,” Risinger said. “We did get some nice practices in, but it’s not the same.”

“I don’t like having a week layoff,” Peterson said, “but what are you going to do? I hope we can get some good weather here and get playing. Seven days between games is no good, but I was pleased with the way the girls came out. We did some hitting inside yesterday, and it paid off.”

Starter Brooke Ruffner allowed 12 hits, struck out one and walked two for the Indians. Indiana was coming off a 15-3 loss to Highlands on Monday.

“There have been a lot of cancellations and makeup games — this is the third scheduled time for this game — so it makes it hard to get a rhythm going,” Wilson said. “We’re just trying to get better every game. We still have half of our section games left.”

The Stingers have played only two Heritage Conference games and weren’t afraid to go up against Class AAA Indiana.

“It doesn’t matter if a team is Quad-A or Single-A or somewhere in between, if you have a good ball team, you’re good,” Peterson said. “We’ve had a very good non-conference schedule so far. We beat Cambria Heights and Punxs’y and then came down here to Indiana. That’s something we wanted to do to get us ready for down the road.”

“I just go into every game thinking the same thing,” Risinger said. “I just try to pitch my game. We prepare for every team the same, and we just want to win as many games as we can and go as far as we can. We are taking it step by step, but it has been good so far.”

Carly Krouse is a sports writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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