Effingham Daily News
Brooke Burns scored as a pinch runner in a two-run third inning for Altamont, but she stepped up for her first at-bat in the seventh and delivered.
Burns knocked a single past Cumberland center fielder Taylor Layton, scoring Alex Teasley from second base for the walk-off 3-2 victory Tuesday.
The Indians came out on top of the-early season showdown that pinned No. 1 Cumberland and the No. 6 state-ranked Indians.
Burns, a freshman, already had two doubles and a triple this season, giving Altamont head coach John Niebrugge more pause with leaving her out of the starting lineup.
“Her slugging percentage has to be pretty high right now,” Niebrugge said. “We know she can hit, we just have to find a spot for her.”
The game-winning single was one of only a few mistakes by Cumberland starter Breanna Booker, who gave up three runs but only one earned.
But Booker’s performance was overshadowed by Altamont starter Deidre Ledbetter, who gave up three hits and struck out nine Pirates.
Ledbetter gave up a triple to Cumberland’s first batter of the game, Kyla Thornton, but retired 12 of the next 14 Pirates to come to the plate — only surrendering a walk to Layton in the fourth.
“Deidre is Deidre,” Niebrugge said. “Her rise ball was really working today and (she) kept after it.”
Ledbetter suffocated the middle of the Pirates’ lineup. Audrey Casey, Katie Poe, Layton and Booker, who combined for 10 RBIs and eight runs in the Pirates’ 24-5 win over St. Anthony yesterday, went 0-for-11 with six strikeouts against the Indians’ ace.
“They weren’t themselves today,” Cumberland head coach Marnie Blade said. “We weren’t approaching the plate like we normally do.”
Layton, playing shortstop, committed three errors in the game, including an overthrow in the third that scored two Altamont runs.
Cumberland began the game defensively sound, as left fielder Jenna McMechan threw out Altamont’s Madison Ohnesorge at home plate in the first inning.
Pirates right fielder Kaylee Carlen kept Burns from scoring on a Audrey Winters double in the third inning by throwing the ball home with pin-point accuracy.
But Burns and Winters scored two batters later as Layton overthrew Thornton at first base on what would’ve been the third out of the inning.
“Too much ownership on those errors carried from defense to offense,” Blade said. “We can hit a lot better than that.”
Another Layton error put runners at second and third base with no outs in the sixth, tied 2-2, but the Indians failed to bring in a run.
“That’s me over-coaching,” Niebrugge said. “I tried to do a suicide (squeeze). Sometimes it’s best if I let these girls hit.”
First, Josie Phillips tried scoring at home on a wild pitch, but Casey scrambled and made a play to get her out. Then, Lauren White missed a bunt attempt and Ledbetter got caught, retreating to third base. White popped out to end the inning.
The mishap didn’t cost the Indians, though, as Teasley and Burns strung together back-to-back hits in the seventh inning to win the game.
“Luckily, we had the last at bat,” Niebrugge said. “If they did, it might be the other way around. That’s two good teams. We’ll probably see them again at some point.”
Cumberland (2-2) returns to action at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, hosting Lawrenceville. Altamont (4-2) is off until Saturday’s Pinckeyville Panther Invitational.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or email@example.com.
Cumberland 100 010 0 2 3 4
Altamont 002 000 1 3 5 0
WP - Ledbetter (7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 9 K, 2 BB) LP - Booker (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 K, 1 BB)
Cumberland: Thornton (3B, R), Plummer (RBI), Layton (BB), Carlen (1B, BB, R), McMechan (1B)
Altamont: Phillips (2 RBI), L. Ohnesorge (BB, SB), Teasley (1B, R), Tharp (1B, R), Burns (1B, RBI), Smith (1B), Winters (2B)