Two up and coming young softball pitchers locked horns in a sizzling pitching duel Tuesday June 18, in Knoxville.
Oskaloosa freshman, Faith DeRonde and Knoxville eighth grader, Ashlyn Finarty tossed goose eggs for the better part of seven innings. But it was the Indians that broke through in the fourth inning to take a 4-0 non-conference victory.
Finarty was sailing along with a one-hit shutout until there were two out in the top of the fourth. Then like a lightning bolt out of the blue, the Indians ripped four consecutive laser shots to score three runs. Abby Braundmeier started it with a double into the left-center gap and Sofia Dykstra followed with a line shot single. DeRonde clubbed a triple to the fence in left-center to score two and Maddie Haines stroked a double to score DeRonde.
The uprising was over almost as quick as it started and then Finarty settled back in for three up, three down innings in the fifth and sixth.
The Indians did add an insurance run in the top of the seventh when DeRonde singled, was sacrificed to second and she scored on an outfield error.
Not only did the young pitchers do their thing in the circle, they both led the offense for their teams. DeRonde had a triple and a single for Osky while Finarty smacked a double and a single for the Panthers. In the circle, DeRonde walked one and fanned 12 while Finarty did not walk a batter and fanned one.
Emery Neer used her blazing speed to slap out a pair of singles for Knoxville and Emma Dunkin lined a single to right for the other Panther safety.
“We played really well,” Panther Coach Coy Hupfeld said. “Osky is a very good team and we just couldn’t hold them down forever. Ashlyn pitched really well last night against Centerville which made tonight’s effort even more outstanding. DeRonde was tough and we just couldn’t put hits together against her.”
Knoxville Battery: Ashlyn Finarty (LP) 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K and Melanie Sullivan
Knoxville hitting: Emery Neer 2-for-3, Emma Dunkin 1-for-3, A. Finarty 2-for-3.
2B – A. Finarty 1