Lincoln starts league with 11-1 victory over Foothill

Bear River, Placer, Colfax next
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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After the Lincoln High softball game against Bear River was rained out last week, the Fighting Zebras opened Pioneer Valley League play by defeating Foothill 11-1 in five innings. Pitching ace Miranda Schroeder took to the mound and confounded the Mustangs for three-straight innings giving up one hit and fanning six. Relief pitcher Avery Little, a freshman, came on in the fourth inning and continued Lincoln’s dominance. Foothill’s only run came off an infield error but Little refused to let it rattle her. “She’s not intimidated as much anymore with the varsity hitting and she’s been hitting her spots,” said Lincoln head coach Donna Tofft of Little’s performance. “Except for that one ugly inning; we’ve been working on getting our defense to play hard for our pitchers and vice versa.” After opening up with two hits in the fourth inning the Mustangs loaded the bases. An error brought home one runner, but then Little slammed the door. She struck out one batter, and catcher Courtney Jones gathered in a pop fly foul for the second out. Little then threw some smoke past Foothill second baseman Danielle Vanskike for a K and retired the side. In the bottom of the fifth the Blue Sox’s bats began to explode loading up the bases. The Zebras’ Rachael Dal Porto doubled to open the inning and then stole third base. Lacy Lewis slapped out a singled to drive in Dal Porto. Alexis Bliechwehl followed with a base knock and Kelsey Pipkins drew a walk to bring up Ashleigh Stidman. Stidman then ripped a double to deep right-center to clear the pond and give Lincoln a nine-run lead. Jones sacrificed Stidman over to third with only one out. Shortstop Abi Lund then came to the plate to blast a single to right bringing Stidman home for the game-ending run. After the game, Lund said the team’s hitting was improving, but she credits the club’s defense as being the Zebras’ strong suit. “I think our defense has really come together well the last two games,” said Lund, whose error allowed the Mustangs to score. “I knew what I was going to do, just (that) my brain was going too quick for my body” Lund said with a laugh. “When we get riled up and stuff we make mistakes. But when we slow it down and quiet down we’re able to make good plays.” Tofft said the team is going to have to make good plays with the games they have coming up. The Zebras played a makeup game at Bear River Tuesday, played at Placer Wednesday, and will host Colfax Friday at 4 p.m. “I know we’re going to play hard,” Tofft said of the upcoming PVL competition. “They take the top three (to playoffs). We gelled and we’ve been hanging together so I feel comfortable (if we) get a little luck – need a little luck in there.” Lincoln 11, Foothill 1 Mustangs 0 0 0 1 0 - – 1 2 2 Zebras 3 2 0 1 5 - – 11 15 2 Foothill ab r h bi Fredericks rf 3 0 1 0 No. 2 3b 3 1 1 0 No. 4 p 1 0 1 0 Lane c 1 0 0 0 No. 13 1b 2 0 0 0 Bush ss 1 0 0 0 No. 26 cf 2 0 0 0 Vanskike 2b 2 0 0 0 No. 1 lf 2 0 0 0 Totals 17 1 3 0 LOB - 4 Lincoln ab r h bi Stidman cb 4 3 3 3 Jones c 2 2 1 0 Lund ss 3 1 2 1 Schroeder p 2 0 0 0 MacQueen 1b 3 0 2 0 Dal Porto 3b 2 1 2 0 Lewis 2b 2 1 2 1 Bliechwehl rf 3 1 2 0 Pipkins lf 2 0 0 0 Combs lf 1 1 0 0 Thompson pr 0 1 0 0 Little rp 1 0 1 0 Totals 26 11 15 5 2B – Stidman (1), Dal Porto (2) LOB – 6. Stolen base – Stidman (3), MacQueen (1), Dal Porto (1), Lewis (1), Bliechwehl (2). WP – Schroeder, SV – Little