Senior pitcher Allison Benning recorded 10 strikeouts and allowed only two hits, pitching a complete game for a 3-1 Stillwater win over East Ridge on Friday. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine
Stillwater plated 63 runs in its previous five games this spring. East Ridge, meanwhile, was averaging 7.8 runs per game of production. With both teams producing at that kind of clip, it was fair to expect some offensive fireworks when the two met for a matinee at Stillwater High School Friday.
Good pitching and defensive prowess, however, dominated the majority of play. Stillwater pitcher Allison Benning stood out in the circle for the Ponies — striking out 10 — while long balls from teammates Morgan Wohlers and Cat Smetana provided offense to propel the team to a 3-1 triumph over their Suburban East Conference rivals.
The Ponies, ranked No. 1 in the Class 4A coaches’ poll, got their first home run from their lead-off batter, Wohlers, in the bottom of the first inning to give Stillwater the early 1-0 advantage.
East Ridge countered, matching the Ponies’ score with its own in the second, but from that point on, Benning settled in and pitched like an ace.
“I just needed to relax and find my spots,” said Benning, a senior who will continue her softball career at Oregon next year. “I think I did, and my teammates all supported me all the way which really helped me.”
Cat Smetana smashed a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to help Stillwater break a 1-1 tie with Suburban East Conference rival East Ridge on Friday evening, setting the Ponies up for a 3-1 defeat of the Raptors at Stillwater High School.
The Ponies, ranked No. 1 in the Class 4A coaches’ poll, plated the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning. Morgan Wohlers knocked a lead-off home run to give the Ponies a brief 1-0 lead.
East Ridge (6-4, 5-4) evened the score 1-1 in the top of the second inning when Ponies starter Allison Benning issued a leadoff walk to Peyton Henderson, followed by a single to Samantha Murphy in a sequence that eventually led to the Raptors scoring their only run of the game. Then Benning, an Oregon commit, settled in and held the No. 10-4A Raptors scoreless for the remainder of the game.
The Ponies (9-0, 8-0) nearly got a third home run on Friday. In the bottom of the third inning, Mikayla Koren sent a blast that looked as if it would clear the outfield wall but left fielder Emma Spuhler timed her leap perfectly to catch it at the fence, keeping the score even until Smetana knocked her long ball to win the game.
Benning and East Ridge starter Braylin Pentila both pitched the entire game. Benning finished with 10 strikeouts and allowed two hits in her seven innings, while Pentila recorded four strikeouts and surrendered seven hits.
The MN Softball Hub polls are for entertainment purposes only.