By BRADEN LAYER Daily News
Effingham Daily News
---- — DIETERICH -- Through five innings of play, Windsor had generated just one hit at the plate, yet the scoreboard read 4-0 in favor of the Lady Blue Devils. Dieterich walked six batters in the second inning alone, allowing Windsor to take an easy lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Lindsay Floyd fanned 14 Lady Maroon batters on the afternoon as Windsor picked up a convincing 7-1 victory on the road.
Dieterich’s Heidi Thoele retired her first three batters of the game, but struggled with control in the second inning. Three of the first four Windsor batters reached first on balls, before Allie Bridges’ RBI single with the bases loaded gave the Lady Blue Devils their first hit and first run on the scoreboard. Thoele walked the next two Windsor batters, allowing Kassy Strowmatt and Mercedez Austin to reach home and give the Lady Blue Devils a 3-0 lead.
“I tell our kids, ‘Don’t swing above the belt,’” Windsor coach Brian Lee said. “‘Make sure they are throwing strikes.’”
Sydney Higgs entered the game for the Lady Maroons after 1.1 innings of action from Thoele. She walked Floyd, her first batter, to plate Bridges and give Windsor a 4-0 advantage. Higgs got Whitney Kuhl to hit into a double play on the ensuing at bat, but the damage was done.
“They only had one or two hits,” Lady Maroons coach Scott Kocher said. “We got down early and it was just tough to come back, we couldn’t seem to muster much offense early on.”
Chalk that up to the effort of Floyd on the mound. Dieterich got one hit in each of the next four innings, but was never able to cross home plate.
Despite Floyd’s sterling, 14-strikeout performance, Lee said she wasn’t even pitching her best stuff.
“I told our assistant coach that she wasn’t throwing as hard today,” he said. “Part of that is because she’s tired. But she’s a warrior out there, her ball moves a lot.”
Dieterich’s best chance to shake Floyd and score early came in the fourth, when Mallorie Vahling reached first base on balls, Floyd’s only walk of the game. Now at second after a dropped strikeout, Shelby Wendling ripped a double to left field, but Windsor’s Dani Bell threw a laser home to tag out Vahling and keep the shutout alive.
The Lady Blue devils, limited to just one hit through five innings, added a run in the sixth off an RBI single to left field from Bridges. Ahead 5-0, Windsor tacked on two more runs for insurance in the seventh, when Lee’s squad opened the inning on three straight base hits. Bell started with an infield single, and Floyd cranked an RBI triple to left that brought her teammate all the way home. The final Lady Blue Devil run came off an RBI single from Kuhl that dropped short of Dieterich center fielder Katilyn Meinhart.
“We haven’t hit it like that in our first six games,” Lee said. “It was good to see that.”
The Lady Maroons managed to avoid the shutout in the final frame. Taylor Wright connected on a single up the gut with a full count and two outs. After advancing on a wild pitch to second, Thoele hit an RBI double to right field that brought Wright home for the 7-1 final tally.
“The second half of the game we had some really solid hits,” Kocher said. “It just took us three our four innings to figure it out.”
Dieterich (2-3) finished with six hits on the afternoon, and will try to use its late-game confidence at the plate to get back in the win column. The Lady Maroons play Friday at South Central.
Windsor ran its record to 3-4 with the victory, and the Lady Blue Devils will look to keep the momentum going today at Pana.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com
Windsor 7, Dieterich 1
Windsor 040 001 2 7 8 0
Dieterich 000 000 1 1 6 1
WP - Floyd LP - Thoele
Windsor: Bell (1B, R); Floyd (3B, R, RBI); Kuhl (1B, RBI); Strowmatt (2 1B, 2 R); Austin (1B); Bridges (2 1B, R, 2 RBI).
Dieterich: Wright (1B, R); Thoele (2B, RBI).