First-year North Callaway varsity softball coach Mariah McKee always knew there were going to be some things she had to experience to know what they're about, and one of those things was Eastern Missouri Conference competition.
That's what made last Thursday's jaunt out to Van-Far for a league contest such a big deal for the Ladybird's, and when the visitors scored two runs in the second and another in the fifth that's all they'd need to defeat the Lady Indians 3-1. Earning the complete-game decision for North Callaway was Kenzie Ausfahl by allowing just one earned run in the sixth inning on six hits and a pair of walks with nine strikeouts.
"It's good to pick up a conference victory. Van-Far is much improved," said McKee. "Ausfahl pitched another good game."
Guiding the other side of this effort for the Ladybird's was Makayla Pennell at 2-for-3 with a double and a run, Cameron Knipp had two hits and one RBI in three at-bats and Ellie Eckert went 2-for-4 with a RBI. Raelle Schmauch also contributed to this nine-hit performance for North Callaway by posting a hit, one walk and a run in two trips to the plate and Heather Thurman ended her day at 1-for-3 with a run.
In a contest that saw both squads make just one error, it was Van-Far pitcher Jaylee Jennings who was forced to take the loss in the circle despite the fact she went 1-for-3 with a run trying to further her own cause. Driving her home with a RBI double and also charting a walk in two at-bats was Jordan Garner and Devlin Keller was 2-for-3 for the Lady Indians. For the contest Van-Far had six hits.
In the JV game North Callaway won 3-0.
On Aug. 28 the Ladybird's lost in 10 innings at South Callaway 2-1 when Raylie Miller hit a ball of the end of her bat down the right field line for a double. She then took third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground ball out based on the depth of the infielders. South Callaway's other run came in the first inning when a walk was followed up with a passed ball and an error.
For North Callaway its lone run came in the third when Raelle Schmauch was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a double and was then drove home by Ausfahl.
"(This was a) great pitching dual, (but) everytime we got a hit, we failed to follow it up by getting another one," McKee said. "We'd hit the ball right at somebody. We want to get it right."
For the Ladybird's it was Ausfahl who took the decision even though she threw for 9.6 innings and gave up just two runs, one earned, on one hits and four walks with 13 strikeouts. Eckert also came in at 3-for-5 with a double as North Callaway ended up with seven hits for the game.
The Ladybird's next play Wright City today in their home opener at 5:00 p.m.