Class 2A No. 7 Underwood edged out St. Albert 2-0 thanks to two early runs and a fantastic defensive performance.
“We didn’t really have the hitting that we needed tonight,” Underwood coach Leah Crouse said. “We made plenty of great defensive plays though to make it work. Sometimes you just have to play defense and find a way.”
The Eagles scored a run in the second and the third innings to take a slight 2-0 advantage over the hosting Saintes.
The Saintes threatened when Lainey Sheffield hit a lead-off double in the bottom of the fourth and eventually advanced to third as another runner made her way to second. With one out, the Saintes had the leading run at the plate.
“We just couldn’t get that timely hit,” St. Albert head coach Lyndsay Daley said. “This was a great game between two great pitchers and I’m very pleased with the girls’ effort here tonight. Both sides played great defense and it was just hard to push that run across which is something we’ve struggled with at times this year. ”
Freshman Alexis Narmi pitched all seven innings for St. Albert and allowed just three hits while striking out two Eagle batters.
The Eagles’ defense bowed up though and forced the Saintes to come up empty as senior pitcher Ella Pierce and the defense forced back-to-back ground outs to kill the inning.
“I know that my defense has my back 100 percent,” Pierce said. “This definitely wasn’t just me it was a full team effort. They really relieve a lot of stress off of me in the circle and even on a night like this where we don’t have the bats going, I know they always have my back. We just took things pitch by pitch and inning by inning and just keep things simple defensively. ”
Pierce pitched all seven innings and gave up just three hits while striking out six Saintes batters.
Freshman Kylie Wesack hit a lead-off single in the bottom of the sixth thus giving another chance for the Saintes. A strikeout by Pierce and a pop fly to center field quickly brought up two outs.
A line drive down the third-base line gave Wesack an opening to bypass third and cut the deficit in half by the left fielder sophomore Ali Fletcher threw a laser to home to beat Wesack for the third out, thus thwarting another scoring chance for the Saintes.
The Eagles then forced the Saintes three up, three down to close the game and escape the upset bid in Council Bluffs.
St. Albert will head to Carroll Kuemper at 7:30 p.m. tonight for its next game. Underwood will play at Thomas Jefferson on Saturday for its next game.
Underwood (20-2) 011 000 0 — 2
St. Albert (6-18) 000 000 0 — 0