OTTAWA — When playing in a traditional rivalry game such as the one that took place on the softball diamond Wednesday between Marquette and St. Bede, it's always nice to get off to a solid start and possibly put a little bit of doubt in the mind of your opponent.
The Lady Crusaders certainly produced that against the Lady Bruins with a fine first frame where they tallied five runs, then cruised to a 9-3 victory here at June Gross Field in Ottawa.
The first five batters in the Marquette lineup all reached and scored in the opening stanza, setting the tone for the rest of the contest.
Senior all-stater Allie Snook led the way, going 2-for-3 with a homer and four runs batted in. Sophomore Ellen Wheatland also collected two hits and drove in a pair of runners, while Makenna Tkach was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Tkach (16-4) also recorded the pitching win by allowing just five hits and three walks while striking out 10 as the Lady Crusaders upped their overall record to 19-4 after the quick start against their rival.
"It was comfortable to get off with a five-run lead… and the girls got a little relaxed after that," said Marquette coach Dave Tkach. "Then later after they got a home run, we answered right back with two. That gave us even more confidence to play more relaxed.
"I'm very happy with the win."
St. Bede (15-7) did receive a nice day at the plate from junior Gianna Elias, who belted two solo homers off of Makenna Tkach. But other than that Tkach was in command in the circle, especially after getting staked to the big early lead.
"I thought we did all right and had some quality at-bats… and we never gave up and fought until the end," said St. Bede skipper Rob Ruppert. "We gave them a couple of breaks and they put the ball in play when they needed to. We struggled a little bit today, but you have to fight through some of those games."
The Lady Crusaders blazed out of the gate in the bottom of the first against St. Bede starting and losing pitcher Hayley Short (6 IP, 6 ER, 11 H, 2 BB, 7 K). Emily Owens led off with a single and went to third on a pair of wild pitches. Makenna Tkach then walked and stole second. Snook plated both with an RBI single to left that put Marquette up 2-0 only three batters in. Snook then reached third on back-to-back singles by Wheatland and Makena McConnaughhay before plating on an error.
Then, with one out, Wheatland tallied after an RBI groundout from Aubrey McCallum and McConnaughhay scampered home courtesy of a run-scoring base hit from Mallory Martini that put the Lady Cru up 5-0 after one.
Makenna Tkach was rolling along after retiring the first 10 batters she faced before Elias hit her first homer with one out in the top of the fourth to make the score 5-1.
But Marquette countered quickly in the bottom of the frame when Makenna Tkach reached on an error and Snook belted her 10th homer of the season way out in left field and put her club up 7-1.
"I've just been trying to hit line drives and stay consistent, because as a team right now we're really on offensively," Snook said. "That one felt good off the bat, and I thought we just took it from there and finished off the win."
Elias added her second solo bomb in the top of the sixth before the Lady Crusaders notched two more in the bottom of the stanza after Wheatland's two-run single plated Abbey Owens and Makenna Tkach, which upped the ledger to 9-2.
The Lady Bruins then ended the day's scoring in the top of the seventh after an RBI single from Kate Plankenhorn.
At June Gross Field, Ottawa
Marquette 9, St. Bede 3
ST. BEDE (3) — Sons lf 3-0-1-0, Elias 1b 4-2-2-2, May dp 2-0-0-0, Short p 2-0-0-0, Lee cf 3-0-0-0, Boehm c 3-0-0-0, Morrow ss 3-1-1-0, Plankenhorn rf 3-0-1-1, Espinoza 2b 2-0-0-0, Holmes 3b 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-3-5-3.
MARQUETTE (9) — E. Owens c 4-1-1-0, Tkach p 3-3-2-0, Snook 1b 3-2-2-4, Wheatland ss 4-1-2-2, McConnaughhay 3b 4-1-1-0, Cowie dp 3-0-0-0, McCallum lf 3-0-1-1, Martini 2b 3-0-1-1, A. Owens rf 3-1-1-0, E. Thomas cf 0-0-0-0. Totals 30-9-11-8.
St. Bede (15-7) 000 101 1 — 3 5 2
Marquette (19-4) 500 202 x — 9 11 1
LOB – St. Bede 5; Marquette 5. HR – Elias 2, Snook. SB – Tkach 2, McCallum.
St. Bede ip r er h bb k
Short (L) 6.0 9 6 11 2 6
Tkach (W, 16-4) 7.0 3 3 5 3 10