Rain suspends McFarland-Beloit Turner softball showdown; injury sidelines Trojans’ Kailyn Packard
BELOIT – In a duel between the top softball teams in the Rock Valley Conference, McFarland and host Beloit Turner were tied 1-1 when the game was suspended Thursday night in the top of the sixth inning due to heavy rain.
Beloit Turner, ranked No. 1 in Division 2 in the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association poll, was without standout pitcher Kailyn Packard.
Packard suffered a knee injury after throwing a pitch in the fifth inning during Tuesday’s game against ninth-ranked McFarland, Trojans coach Regan Peters said. Packard was scheduled to undergo further examination (MRI), Peters said.
“We are worried, but hopeful,” Peters said.
Kenzy Conkle started in the circle for the Trojans. Senior Mia Hoveland, who struck out 12 in the Spartans’ 4-1 loss to Turner on Tuesday in McFarland, again was the starting pitcher for McFarland.
McFarland took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Senior shortstop Karis Rogers lined a one-out double to right-center. With two out, Spartans senior designated player Mackenzie Beam singled to left, driving in the game’s first run.
The Trojans answered in the bottom of the fourth. Turner third baseman Trinity Fry tripled to right field. She scored the tying run when a high pitch from Hoveland went off the tip of senior catcher Morgan Richter’s mitt and carried to the screen.
The Spartans mounted a threat in the top of the first, loading the bases with none out on hits by senior Sophie Quelle, third baseman Hailey Redders and Hoveland. But Conkle and the Trojans worked out of that jam, aided by a double play.
The game was moved up 45 minutes to 4 p.m. in hopes of beating the impending rain. But the rain began in the bottom of the fifth and the game was suspended in the top of the sixth when the rain intensified. The game was halted just before a downpour struck, quickly turning the field into a quagmire.
“We want to make sure kids are safe,” McFarland coach Dave Halverson said. “We have two good teams that are going to make some noise in the postseason. They already have a pitcher who is out and our catcher (Richter) got hurt tonight (with a jammed thumb).”
Turner (15-0 overall, 12-0 Rock Valley) leads the Rock Valley. McFarland (9-2, 8-1) is right behind.
“I am happy with the way our defense is playing right now,” Peters said. “They are stopping everything that is hit to them and they are making good plays in the outfield. I think we made one mistake there; we cut off that ball to home (in the fourth). I think that was going to be a close play at home, unfortunately. But it’s just because they are playing hard.”
School administrators will be tasked with setting a date to complete the game, with McFarland at bat in the top of the sixth inning.
Turner was WIAA Division 2 state runner-up last season.
Packard is a University of Missouri-Kansas City signee for softball.
Hoveland signed for softball with the University of Missouri-Kansas City during this spring’s late signing period.
Hoveland had struck out nine when the game was suspended Thursday.