Knights survive seventh-inning scare to beat Panthers

News-DemocratMay 2, 2014 

— Triad softball coach Kris Kleeman wishes her team didn't have such a flair for the dramatic.

Pitcher Jenn Bailey got the final two outs with the tying and go-ahead runs on the base paths as Knights held off the O'Fallon Panthers 3-2 on Friday.

The Knights (15-5) now are 4-2 in one-run games this season.

"I tell you what, the girls like to give the fans their money's worth that's for sure," Kleeman said. "I think I sprouted five gray hairs in the top of the seventh inning alone."

The Knights took a 3-0 lead into the top of the seventh, but the Panthers got a leadoff double from Sami Stadts and singles from Becca Proper and Taylor Underwood to break up Bailey's shutout bid.

Addison Barnouski hit a blooper to right-center that dropped in, but the Knights managed to get a force play at second base.

Molly Dumstorff singled past the third-base bag to cut the Knights' lead to 3-2.

Taylor Dichsen hit a grounder back to Bailey, who threw to first for the second out.

With runners at second and third, Bailey struck out Allison Underwood on a called third strike on the outside corner.

"Their coach was saying, 'Hit their pitcher's mistakes,' and they were hitting my mistakes," Bailey said. "It got a little scary there. It got to where you have to turn that switch on and work hard to get through it."

Bailey gave up six hits, including four in the seventh inning, while striking out six and walking none.

"We just turned it on too late," said O'Fallon coach Kelly Paproth, whose squad dropped to 16-9 and had a two-game winning streak snapped. "We came out a little flat and didn't have the energy we needed and didn't make the adjustments we needed quite quick enough.

"But, I was proud of them for coming back at the end. It was just too little too late."

The Panthers shut out the Knights 1-0 on Feb. 18 in the O'Fallon Tournament thanks to a five-hitter by Barnouski.

This time, the Knights banged out 10 hits against Barnouski, who struck out two and walked one.

The Knights grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Abby Burroughs singled and scored on a back-to-back singles by Avery Myers and Beth Mersinger.

The early run was a confidence booster for the Knights.

"Especially since last time we lost 1-0," Kleeman said. "Against a great quality team like O'Fallon sometimes it ends up being 1-0. Being at home and getting that first run makes a huge difference.''

The Knights added a run in the fourth on singles by Jordyn Alford, Mycala Feldman and Abigail Schroeter and a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Myers.

Burroughs, who walked to lead off the inning, scored on Myers' hit down the left-field line.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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