Panther defense shines in 11-0 rout
SHENANDOAH — Creston sophomore right fielder Alyssa Higgins kept momentum on Creston’s side with her defense twice here Monday in an 11-0 win over Shenandoah.
The Fillies entered the Hawkeye 10 Conference matchup riding a seven-game winning streak, but the Panther bats and defense cooled Shenandoah off.
Higgins made her mark on the game early.
After Creston pitcher Haylee LaMasters hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning to give Creston a 1-0 lead, Shenandoah leadoff hitter Devon Wood smacked a double to the right-center field fence.
Higgins picked up the ball and made the relay throw to second baseman Shelby Palser, who turned and fired to Lexie Little at third base, tagging out Wood as she attempted to stretch the hit into a triple.
“Maybe the untold story of the game is we had two assists from our right fielder in the first three innings,” Creston head coach Mike McCabe said. “Alyssa made a great throw. Rather than having a leadoff triple, we had a leadoff out. That was huge.”
Higgins did it again in the third inning, stopping a two-out rally by the Fillies by gunning down a runner at home plate to end the inning.
“Those are two huge plays right there that could have changed the complexion of the game,” McCabe said. “She’s done a nice job defensively for us out there. Just made the right play there. Didn’t try to do too much. We were fortunate to be able to make both of those plays.”
McCabe was pleased with his defense, in general.
After struggling with nine total errors in Thursday’s Hawkeye 10 Conference doubleheader with Harlan, the Panthers committed just one error on Monday.
LaMasters wasn’t overpowering with just one strikeout, but induced plenty of ground ball outs. She did not issue a walk and allowed only five hits, three of which were to Wood.
“Give them some credit,” McCabe said. “They put the ball in play and were aggressive at the plate swinging. I thought we did a pretty good job making the plays we had to. Was a good ballgame for us. We needed to bounce back, especially in the conference, and get a win. Nice to get it on the road.”
McCabe was also pleased to see his team string hits together. The Panthers scored six runs in the fourth inning and three runs in the fifth inning.
“That was probably the first time we’ve strung some hits together,” he said. “Did a good job.”
Josie Sickels had an RBI hit in the fourth inning, followed by an RBI fielder’s choice for Taylor Briley. LaMasters hit a two-run single, followed by a two-run double by Natalie Mostek.
Sickels added another RBI single in the fifth inning, followed by an RBI fielder’s choice for LaMasters and an RBI single by Mostek.
Combined, LaMasters and Mostek went 4-for-8 with seven RBI from the three and four spots in the order. Sickels finished 3-4 out of the leadoff position.
Creston, now 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the Hawkeye 10, is off on Tuesday and Wednesday, before returning to action with another Hawkeye 10 Conference doubleheader on Thursday at Carroll Kuemper Catholic.
Then, the Panthers return home Friday and Saturday for the John Stephens Classic.
The Creston junior varsity team improved to 2-2 for the season with an 8-2 win over Shenandoah on Monday.
Josie Sickels struck out two and walked two in the win before being relieved by Taylor Briley.
The Panthers took advantage of eight walks and two Shenandoah errors.
Lexie Little had two hits including a double, while Alyssa Higgins had two doubles. Josie Sickels also hit a double for the Panthers.
Creston 11, Shenandoah 0
R H E
Creston 101 63 — 11 9 1
Shen 000 00 — 0 5 4
Haylee LaMasters 0BB 1K and Natalie Mostek. Jordan Major 1BB 3K 2HBP and Devon Wood. W — LaMasters. L— Major. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B — Cr: Josie Sickels 1, Mostek 1. RBI — Cr: LaMasters 4, Mostek 3, Josie Sickels 2, Taylor Briley 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Josie Sickels 3, LaMasters 2, Mostek 2. S: Wood 3.