Cuba flexed its power to produce late insurance runs Wednesday.
The Lady Wildcats (12-8) swatted a pair of two-run home runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to help eliminate St. Clair (6-18) from the Class 3 District 3 Tournament at Sullivan, 9-4.
“We played them much better yesterday than we did last week when we saw them,” St. Clair Head Coach Anna Reed said. “I think overall our girls did a great job and fought tough the whole game.”
The Lady Bulldogs had to deal with adversity shortly before the first pitch, losing a key player just prior to the game.
“Unfortunately our senior left fielder/third baseman and three-hole hitter was quarantined just a few hours before the game started, so we did have a couple girls playing out of position,” Reed said. “Despite that, they played well. We are a young and inexperienced team, but our girls are learning and getting better every day and that’s all I could ask for.”
After St. Clair scored once in the top of the first, Cuba put together three runs in the home half to take the lead.
St. Clair came back to tie it with two runs in the top of the third.
Cuba went back ahead in the bottom of the third and added plenty of insurance with a five-run fifth inning that included home runs by Tyra Haffer and Trinity Long.
St. Clair got one run back in the top of the sixth.
The Lady Wildcats exited Wednesday’s game having homered at least once in eight of their last nine games. Six of those games included at least two Cuba blasts. One, against Owensville, saw the Lady Wildcats swat five long balls.
“They had a few hitters that were hot that game but I commend our pitcher Madelyn Ruszala for being able to bounce back after one tough inning and not give up anymore runs after that especially with their top of the line up coming up next,” Reed said. “We played more to our potential last night and I am content with how our last game ended knowing they gave it their all and put up a good fight, but it’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that I wont have our seniors coming back next season. They are a great group of girls.”
Ruszala pitched all six inning for St. Clair, surrendering seven earned runs on eight hits and three walks. She recorded six strikeouts.
Emma Davis doubled and singled for the Lady Bulldogs, scored a run and drove one in.
Current Smith singled twice, stole a base, drove in a run and scored.
Gabby Marler recorded two singles.
Ruszala singled and drew three walks. She stole two bases and scored twice.
Kaitlyn Janson singled, walked and stole a base.
Sierra Oloyed reached on a walk.
Top-seeded Sullivan eliminated Cuba Thursday, 10-0. The Lady Eagles hosted No. 3 Salem in the Friday’s championship game.
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