AFTON — Bedford struck first, but East Union battled back for the win here Monday in the opening round of Class 1A Region 7 softball action.
After taking a 2-1 lead, East Union put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth inning to get a pair of insurance runs, padding its lead to 4-1.
Katlin Weinkoetz started things off with a two-out single up the middle, and Chay Blondowski reached base on an error by the second baseman.
Kaeleigh Ballentine then roped a double the opposite way down the left field line, scoring both Weinkoetz and Blondowski.
“I had two really fast girls, so I knew I could squeeze the extra run off with Chay Blondowski coming around,” East Union head coach Gail Thatcher said. “I knew there was no problem getting her home and beating a throw if they made it.”
The Eagles secured the lead an inning earlier, but the insurance runs in the sixth inning certainly helped.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Brittany Malone blooped the ball down the right field line for a single, and the Bedford right fielder overran the ball, allowing Malone to stand up into third base.
Kali Mertens followed with a looping single over the shortstop’s head into left field, scoring Malone to put the Eagles ahead 2-1.
“We were a little slow out of the gate,” Thatcher said, “but we got things going in the later innings, so that helped us out a lot.”
Bedford scored one run in the top of the first inning on back-to-back doubles from Kendyl Gruttemeyer and Madison Walston, but that was the only run Danielle Riley allowed.
Riley scattered six hits, walked three and struck out four. She worked her way out of jams in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings to preserve the lead.
“She did a really nice job tonight,” Thatcher said about Riley. “A couple of her pitches weren’t right where we wanted them, but she kept up and she worked and she didn’t really let off any, so i was very pleased with how she came back tonight.”
After falling behind 1-0, East Union tied the game in the bottom of the second inning when Rochelle Means led off with a double to left field, advanced to third on an error and scored on a Weinkoetz groundout.
“I wanted to get that run back a lot sooner and add some more to get some cushion, because Bedford is a dangerous team,” Thatcher said. “After you’ve beat a team twice, they’re gunning for you. And sometimes your team relaxes and thinks it’s not a big deal when it is.”
East Union, now 9-14, moves on to face a team that has beaten the Eagles twice this year in the Murray Mustangs. Murray owns wins of 8-2 and 11-0 over the Eagles.
That game is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Murray.
“They’ve beat us twice, so i guess they’re in the same boat we were tonight,” Thatcher said. “Hopefully we’re going to come back, do some preparations for some things they do and hopefully go after it Wednesday night and get another win.”
East Union 4, Bedford 1
R H E
Bedford 100 000 0 — 1 6 4
East Union 010 012 0 — 4 8 0
Michaela Mogler 2K 0BB and Kendyl Gruttemeyer. Danielle Riley 4K 3BB and Courtney Phelps. W — Riley. L— Mogler. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B — B: Gruttemeyer 1, Madison Walston 1. EU: Rochelle Means 1, Kaeleigh Ballentine 1. RBI — B: Walston 1. EU: Ballentine 2, Kali Mertens 1, Katlin Weinkoetz 1. Multiple hitters — EU: Ballentine 2, Brittany Malone 2.