WHITINGHAM >> In a state where armed robberies have more than doubled over the last five years, trying to steal in Whitingham on Wednesday wasn't a good idea.
Catcher Jessie Stockwell used her rifle arm to throw out two potential base thieves and also went 3 for 4 at the plate during the Leland & Gray softball team's 25-11 victory over host Twin Valley.
"She's really good," said a player on the home team after Stockwell gunned down a runner who was attempting to steal second base in the third inning. She had already showed off her accurate arm when preventing a swipe in the second frame.
There were three other highlight defensive plays made on the day. Leland & Gray's Mackenzie Boyle somehow caught a scorcher by Jarrett Niles at the hot corner, while Twin Valley outfielders Kassidy Walkowiak and Callie Dix each chased the ball down in the sixth inning on what looked like certain hits.
"I'm very happy with our hitting. We got contributions from everyone," stated Leland & Gray coach Tammy Claussen. "Their outfielders made some great plays."
What concerned Twin Valley skipper Jeff Putnam was his team's eight errors.
"We fought hard and battled all day. Nobody hung their head. I was happy with the effort," he noted. "I'm happy with our play, except for the mistakes."
Trailing 15-4, the Wildcats erupted for five runs in the bottom of the sixth to make things interesting. Kassidy Walkowiak, Leah Putnam, Kaylea Niles and Karlee Walkowiak all singled during the rally, which also included Jordyn Bolognani's three-run double to center.
But the Rebels would answer with a 10-run seventh, with base knocks coming from Rachel Borgesen, Caroline Tietz, Jordan Gouger, Mackenzie Boyle, Gabby Donna and the impatient Jessica Madore. Leland & Gray reliever Keltsey Rushton, who is a hard-throwing southpaw, would give up two runs before getting the final three outs.
Olivia Brown went the first six innings for the visitors. She fanned four, walked four and gave up nine hits.
"Olivia did a nice job. I thought she was pretty steady and that her control was good," exclaimed Claussen. "I thought we did a great job defensively."
Tietz had a couple of RBI doubles as the Rebels opened up an 11-1 lead by the middle of the fifth. Brown tripled to deep center in that span, while runs were also driven in by Gouger, Donna, Emma Densmore, Stockwell and Borgesen.
The rivals went back and forth at that point. RBI singles from Hailey Howe and Karlee Walkowiak helped the Wildcats get to within 11-4, Gouger's two-run single to center did the most damage in Leland & Gray's four-run sixth, and then the hosts responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 15-9.
Twin Valley hurler Jarrett Niles walked 10, struck out one and gave up 19 hits in the complete game effort.
"I'm very happy with Jarrett's performance. She threw strikes," said coach Putnam, whose 1-9 Wildcats will host Green Mountain on Friday.
The 9-2 Rebels, who were coming off of a 13-3 victory over Hartford in a game that Erin Cutts had two hits and four runs driven in, will host Black River on Thursday and then welcome Mill River on Monday.
Leland & Gray lineup: Jessie Stockwell (3 hits and 1 RBI), Rachel Borgesen (3 hits and 3 RBI's), Caroline Tietz (3 hits and 3 RBI's), Jordan Gouger (2 hits and 4 RBI's), Mackenzie Boyle (1 hit and 2 RBI's), Gabby Donna (2 hits and 2 RBI's), Olivia Brown (2 hits), Emma Densmore (1 hit and 1 RBI), Jessica Madore (2 hits and 1 RBI), Chloe Fawcett.
Twin Valley lineup: Karlee Walkowiak (3 hits and 2 RBI's), Jarrett Niles, Kassidy Walkowiak (1 hit and 1 RBI), Brianna Rafus, Leah Putnam (2 hits), Kaylea Niles (1 hit), Hailey Howe (2 hits and 3 RBI's), Callie Dix, Jordyn Bolognani (1 hit and 3 RBI's), Sam Morse.