Lakeville North's Jordan Ahrenstorff (19) celebrates her game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh inning against Rosemount Wednesday evening. The Panthers handed the Irish a 2-1 loss in eight innings. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
A little inside knowledge can make all the difference.
Rosemount pitcher Jessa Snippes had left the Lakeville North offense guessing most of Wednesday. But not the Panthers’ McKinley Malecha.
Malecha, a catcher committed to Nebraska, timed up a riser perfectly against her former summer ball teammate, sending it back to center field for a walk-off single to lift Lakeville North to a 2-1 win in eight innings in Lakeville.
“We’re pretty close, we were talking before the game. She’s so nice and I have so much respect for her,” Malecha said of Snippes. “It was an advantage because I knew she had a good rise ball and I knew she had some speed. I’ve seen it before, I’ve caught her before, and I knew it was an advantage.”
The Irish (5-1, 5-1) won their last three games by a combined 28-1 score. They never trailed Wednesday until the last play. Snippes retired 16 batters in a row from the end of the first inning through the sixth, with 11 of her 16 strikeouts coming in that span.
Lakeville North's Arianna Loesch connects for a single in the bottom of the eighth inning against Rosemount Wednesday evening. The Panthers defeated the Irish 2-1 in eight innings in Lakeville. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Lakeville North found its hitting stroke just in time to hand Rosemount its first loss of the season Wednesday.
A solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning by Jordan Ahrenstorff tied the game at 1 and McKinley Malecha smacked a walk-off single in the eighth inning to win it 2-1 for Lakeville North (4-2, 4-2) at home.
The pitchers’ duel pitted Lakeville North senior Lexi Haglund against Rosemount sophomore Jessa Snippes, who entered the matchup averaging nearly two strikeouts per inning. Snippes recorded 16 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings Wednesday, allowing four hits and two walks.
After surrendering a walk and a single in the first inning, Snippes retired 16 straight batters until Ahrenstorff’s home run. Snippes also went 3-for-4 at the plate in the No. 3 slot for the Irish (5-1, 5-1) with a RBI single to give her team a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning.
Haglund, meanwhile, struck out nine batters, gave up six hits, two walks and a hit batter en route to pitching a complete game for the Panthers.
Malecha led Lakeville North with a 2-for-4 hitting effort.
Izzy Yahr doubled and scored Rosemount’s lone run of the game.
Rosemount's Jessa Snippes (18) delivers a pitch during the second inning of Wednesday evening’s game against Lakeville North. The Irish fell to the Panthers 2-1 in eight innings. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
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