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TROY – The Jersey High School softball team (17-14) took on the Triad Knights Friday afternoon in the regional championship game. The Panthers out hit the Knights 15-13, but Triad were still victorious by a score of 9-6.
Triad got things started in the second inning when Kelsey Neace had an RBI single to make it 1-0. The game just went back and forth from there and saw four home runs.
“For some reason, the ball just travels here,” Triad head coach Kris Kleeman said postgame. “People say all the time that they’ve never seen so many home runs at a ballpark in a single game.”
The Panthers struck back immediately to tie the game in the top of the third. Bria Tuttle homered to left-center to get Jersey on the board.
The game didn’t stay tied long though as the Knights blew the game wide open their next at-bat.
Malorey Kessinger had a lead-off single then Sam Hartoin stepped up and hit a two-run homer. The Knights got runners on second and third again and after a wild pitch and a double from Phoebe Feldman, they were up 5-1 through three innings.
The following inning the Panthers had runners on second and third. Autumn Heitzman hit a two-RBI double to claw back a little and make it 5-3.
The Panthers were able to blank Triad in the fourth giving them a chance to come back, and they did. Thanks to Kari Kruger’s solo homerun the game became 5-4. Jersey got runners on second and third and after a sacrifice fly from Taylor Stelbrink the game was tied again.
Ali Grenzebach hit a lead-off single in the bottom of the fifth. Then stepped up Chloe Seger. She homered to regain the lead at 7-5.
The Panthers found themselves with the bases loaded with only one out in the top of the sixth. They were only able to secure one run after a sac fly from Caroline Gibson.
The scoring wasn’t done yet though. In the bottom of the sixth, Triad added some security runs. Grenzebach single again, this time good for a couple of RBI’s. Two runs scored and the game finished 9-6.
Kessinger had a strong outing on the mound throwing the majority of the game for the Knights. She didn’t let all the runs get to her. She still delivered a solid performance against the Panthers to help win the team’s first regional title in quite some time.
Triad ended Jersey’s season and got to celebrate with their newest regional plaque on their home field.
“It was good,” coach Kleeman said about being about to clinch it on their home field. To make things better, it was the team’s last day of school as well, so emotions were high.
The Knights will move on to face Marion (11-8) in the sectional semifinals on Tuesday, May 31 at 4:30 p.m. The game will be played at Centralia High School.