After dropping its past three softball games, St. Stephens received great play on the mound and timely double plays Thursday to knock off unbeaten Maiden, 3-1.
Up 3-0 in the sixth inning, the Lady Indians (2-3) dodged several potential tying chances by the Lady Blue Devils (5-1).
Maiden scored one run with one out in the sixth inning to cut its deficit to two, but a solid defensive play by the Lady Indians stopped the possibility of more Lady Blue Devil runs.
Saint first baseman Erika Spencer grabbed a liner hit straight to her and stepped on first base for an unassisted double play.
“The balls kind of fell our way,” said Indians coach Jan Davis. “Our girls picked it up and played well. Defense is something we’ve struggled with the last couple of games. To see them keep their head in it, playing well and knowing what to do with the ball means a lot.”
Scoreless through three innings, the Indians opened scoring in the game in the fourth with an RBI by Taylor Lail.
An inning later, Katie Baker drove in Spencer with a triple, and Baker’s courtesy runner, Briana Clontz, scored on a sacrifice fly by Briana Thornburg.
Maiden made its final attempt to tie the game in the seventh inning, but Saint held its ground defensively.
With a Maiden runner on first, Indians second baseman Jodi Kerley scooped up a ball hit at her to turn the team’s fourth double play of the game.
Maiden coach Katrina Robinson said it was hard to watch those defensive plays.
“St. Stephens has always been a quality ball team,” she said. “We know they will make plays. It is definitely frustrating to get picked off on good plays. It’s hard to defend that.”
The Lady Indians forced a last-out pop-up by Maiden to the outfield to seal the win.
Robinson said her squad is building and will bounce back to achieve its goals.
“Our goal is still a conference championship,” she said. “We just have to take it one game at a time.”
Davis said her team, which plays Friday versus South Caldwell, is making a turn for the best.
“On defense, we’ve struggled a lot, but to see those double plays and heads-up plays means a lot,” she said. “It means we’re heading in the right direction.”