COTTLEVILLE, Mo. — Three Rivers softball wasn't playing it's strongest opponent of the season Wednesday. Still, the Raiders had to step on the field and take care of business, and that's what they did.
Against winless St. Charles (0-8, 0-8 Region XVI), Adrienne Stucker stepped into the circle and threw a one-hitter on the way to a 14-0 win. Three Rivers started fast in the second game with an 11-3 win. Stucker struck out 11 and allowed no walks, putting her on the verge of a flawless game to start the day.
"Adrienne was really strong," Three Rivers coach Jeff Null said. "She gave up one hit there to leadoff the second inning. Other than that, she faced one over the minimum."
The bats took a while to get going, though. The Raiders scored a run in the first inning before getting held scoreless for the next three. Once they found the rhythm of opposing pitcher Belle Hargraves, the runs poured in. Three Rivers scored two runs in the fifth and 11 in the sixth inning to earn the shutout win.
"We played solid," Null said. "We didn't make any errors, and I think we walked one batter all day, so I was pleased we didn't give up nothing. In game one, it took us until the fifth inning to kind of bust it."
In the sixth inning, Three Rivers put six straight batters on base before the first out was recorded. Allison Pingel put up three RBIs in the sixth alone with two doubles, including the final hit of the game, which drove in Jenny Morey and Gracie King. King finished the first game 2 for 3 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored.
"I think we just kind of got her timed up," Null said. "First two times through the lineup, we didn't adjust very well, and that third time through, we made some adjustments and started hitting the ball hard."
The damage could've been much worse, too, with Three Rivers stranding nine runners.
Three Rivers (19-2, 9-1 Region XVI) carried its momentum into the second game. The Raiders batted around the order in the first inning and put five runs on the board right off the bat on the way to an 11-3 win. Kristyn Carpenter hit an inside-the-park home run on a 1-1 pitch to score the first pair of runs. King, Mary Yandell and Calli Gerber added runs in the inning.
Gerber had a solid second outing, going 4 for 4 with three RBIs and a double from the seventh spot in the lineup.
Gracie Gargac was given her first start of the season since Abbey Gann and Saje Kurpiela were given the day off. Gargac picked up her first win with a four-inning performance in which she allowed six hits and two earned runs, striking out one. Stucker pitched the final inning and struck out all three batters she faced.
"(Stucker) got an opportunity today to throw and we got to rest Gann and Saje, and she stepped up and played well," Null said. "Gracie Gargac got her first college start and win, and I mean, she threw well, threw strikes and gave us a shot there."
Three Rivers welcomed Lana Reed back into the lineup after she had missed some time for basketball season. Reed filled her usual spot at fifth in the lineup for the first game, going 1 for 5 with a single and an RBI. To get her some extra work, Null put Reed in the leadoff spot for game two. From there, she went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, a run scored, a double and a walk.
"She had a couple shots. That's kind of what we're expecting from her. She gives us another bat in the middle of our lineup and lengthens our lineup out," Null said. "We've got a lot of tough decisions because we've got a lot of kids hitting the ball well right now. We're pretty fortunate that whoever we throw in there should be pretty confident."
Three Rivers is rolling right now, having won 10 games in a row while trying to keep pace with No. 19 Crowder in an early Region XVI race. The Raiders are the only team to beat Crowder so far this year, splitting a two-game series at home on March 17.
Next up for Three Rivers, the Raiders will visit Lyon College JV for a two-game series, starting at 2 p.m. Friday.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic