Dominant pitching performance by senior all-stater Jena Lawrence and timely hitting by veteran Lady Dees Ellie Spurgin and Alex Beard gave Albia a 3-1 victory over Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont at home Monday.
It really didn’t look like an opening season game between sixth ranked Albia and 11th ranked EBF. The fielding was crisp and the pitching on both sides solid.
“Our hitters were a little anxious,” said Coach Jani Dorpinghaus. “We were swinging at first pitches early on and putting a lot of balls in the air instead of driving hits.”
Added Coach Darrren Hill, “We adjusted as the game went on, but EBF just kept hanging around. We really won the game with pitching and defense.
Key to that defensive effort was the play of the only two newcomers in the starting line-up, Lauren Bayer at shortstop and Jade Boland at third base. Boland stopped a rope down the third base line by clean-up hitter Rylee German to give Albia the first out of the seventh inning. Bayer made a difficult catch for the second out in that inning, making an EBF rally difficult as eighth grade pitcher Megan Lobberecht laced a double to left centerfield and designated player Sarah Schutt scored Lobberecht on an RBI single before Abbey Griffin fielded a hopper at second to end the game.
For an eight grader facing Albia, a team that enters the summer with three straight state tournament appearances and three straight conference titles, she was unshakable.
Albia’s Makenna Ross singled in the first and was left stranded. Abbie Martin drilled a ball deep into right field to lead off the second but the ball was caught. Bayer reached on an error and Lobberecht gave up her only walk of the night to Dani Workman. With two out, Ellie Spurgin laced an RBI single to give Albia a 1-0 lead.
Lawrence was virtually untouchable through six innings. In the first six innings she gave up three hits, one of which got through the infield, 11 strikeouts and a walk.
In the third inning Beard led off with a single but courtesy runner Allie Major was left stranded. In the fifth, Ross picked up her second hit of the night, Beard doubled to move Ross to third and Lawrence hit a deep fly to right to score Ross.
Albia got a security run in the sixth when Bayer walked. Workman laid down a perfect bunt single and Bayer scored on an overthrow by the catcher. Workman got doubled off third when MacKenna Jones lined to shortstop and Spurgin picked up her second hit but was left stranded.
Lawrence would give up two hits in the seventh to end up with a five-hitter, giving up one earned run with 11 strikeouts and a walk. Beard had two hits including a double and an RBI, Spurgin had two hits and an RBI, Ross had two hits and scored, Workman had a bunt single and Bayer had a walk and scored and scored after reaching on an error.
Emmalee Davis, German, Schutt and Lobberecht had hits for EBF.
Albia plays #4 Fairfield at home on Tuesday, is home against Class 1A ranked Pleasantville on Wednesday, travels to Davis County for an afternoon game on Thursday and play two games at #1 Carlisle on Saturday.