GENEVA – The Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan/Friend softball team improved its record to 8-10 on the year in a sweep of its home tri Monday night against David City Blue River and St. Paul.
FCEMF 9, St. Paul 6
The Wildcats scored three runs apiece in the first and second innings but couldn’t pull away because the Panthers scored five of their own over the first two innings. FCEMF added two more runs in both the third and fourth innings, while St. Paul couldn’t sustain its early momentum as the Panthers walked away with a 9-6 win.
“We are starting to truly become a team,” FCEMF head coach Aaron Lauby said. “Can't typically predict the outcomes, but we are so much better now at responding the right way when something doesn't go our way or if our opponent comes out swinging. We are going to swing back. We wouldn't have won this game a few weeks ago. We are getting better."
Sophomores Lilly Ellison and Amy Lauby both went 2 for 2 at the plate to lead the FCEMF lineup against the Wildcats. Lauby drove in a pair of runs, while Ellison had one RBI. Senior Kelsi Gaston also notched an RBI double for the Panthers’ only extra-base hit of the game.
Sophomore Kaili Head, freshman Ashley Braun and junior Faith Engle also produced RBIs for FCEMF in the win. Freshman Bailey Hafer didn’t record a hit, but she did draw a walk in each of her three plate appearances.
Lauby got the start in the circle for the Panthers and earned a no-decision as she allowed six earned runs and five hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts in two innings. Braun tossed the final two innings to earn the win while allowing no runs on one hit with three strikeouts.
"Not a lot of teams have the luxury we do with our pitching. If one is struggling or not on their game, to know the others have their back and will pick them up is just huge,” coach Lauby said. “Same deal offensively, if one hitter doesn't get that hit, her teammate is there to have her back and come through. Even if you make a mistake defensively, you make up for it the next play or next at bat.”
FCEMF 8, David City Blue River 0
The Panthers scored in every inning, racked up eight runs on 10 hits with two walks and provided more than enough run support for Braun, who tossed five scoreless innings to earn the win as FCEMF blanked David City Blue River 8-0.
Gaston, Engle and junior Shelby Lawver all recorded multi-hit games for the Panthers. Lawver went 2 for 2 with a double and drove in a pair of runs, while Engle went 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Gaston crushed a pair of doubles, drove in a run and scored twice.
Ellison notched a hit in her only official at-bat, drew a pair of walks and drove in two runs. Head also tallied an RBI double.
The offensive explosion provided plenty of run support for Braun, who tossed a gem in the circle. After earning the first win of her high school career over the weekend, Braun picked up her second win Monday in a complete-game shutout. Over five scoreless innings, Braun allowed just two hits, issued no walks and fanned eight Blue River batters.
"Great two out hitting and great pitching,” Lauby said. “Ashley was on tonight from the circle. Very appreciative of the crowd tonight too. Our home games are just fun. The girls love playing here and it shows in their energy and enthusiasm."
The Panthers continue their busy week Tuesday night with a home clash against Central City before hitting the road Thursday for the Polk County tri against Polk County and Hastings St. Cecilia.