PREP SOFTBALL: Banks, Pearson hold down Lady Rams as MCHS wins
MOUNT CARMEL — Ella Banks and Kasey Pearson combined to shut down Mount Vernon, Ill., on three hits as Mount Carmel won a 2-1 non-conference decision Friday at Fourth Street Field.
Banks, who pitched the first 3 2/3 innings, gave the Lady Aces a 2-0 third-inning lead with a two-run single to deep center field. Addison Drone and Carmen Deisher, who finished the game with two hits apiece, scored on the play, but Banks, attempting to leg-out a double, was tagged out at second on a throw from Ashton McPherson.
In the fourth, Banks went back to the pitcher’s circle, but took Brooklynn Kelley’s hard-hit line drive off the bottom of her right leg and fell to the ground. Pearson picked up the ball near third base and threw out Kelley for the second out of the inning.
However, Banks could not continue and limped to the dugout. She said she had three dominant pitches Friday.
“The first two innings, my curveball was working very well. It was breaking, along with my changeup and screwball,” Banks said. “Everything was working well. It was a really good day.”
Pearson, who warmed up while coaches and game officials attended to Banks, was pressed into service. Calm under pressure, Pearson struck out Jordyn Bauer to end the fourth and pitched a 1-2-3 fifth.
The Lady Rams trimmed their deficit to 2-1 in the sixth, when Breanne Pilson singled down the third-base line and, who two outs, scored on an RBI double from Sydney Morgan.
Mount Carmel’s defense stiffened to get the final out of the sixth. After Pearson forced Kelley into hitting a grounder to Deisher at shortstop, Lady Aces’ first baseman Allyson Armstrong made a nice stretch on the bag to end Mount Vernon’s threat.
MCHS second baseman Kylie Terrel handled all seven of her fielding chances in the game without an error.
Mount Carmel head coach Kyle Buss appreciated his team’s pitching and defense.
“I have been preaching to our girls that we’re not going to be able to hit the ball in every game, but you can bring your pitching and your defense every time,” Buss said. “We played a whole game with no errors, which is huge for us.”
Buss said Pearson gained valuable experience by pitching in relief.
“It’s a tough thing to do, coming into a game where you’re not focused immediately on pitching,” Buss said. “I think that experience will help our team in the future, possibly during a regional tournament game, when we have to win to stay alive.”
Both of Drone’s hits were bunt-singles. She reached in the third before Deisher hit a single that fell into shallow right field and Banks came to the plate.
“I think she threw me a fastball outside, which is a sweet spot for me.” Banks said of Mount Vernon pitcher Danielle Barczewski. “I threw my hands out there, and good things happened.”
Pearson, Eryn Gould and Lexi Simmons each added a single to the Lady Aces’ eight-hit attack.
Banks was the winning pitcher, giving up no runs, one hit with one strikeout and one walk. Pearson earned a save by allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Barczewski pitched effectively in taking the loss. She yielded two earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
The win was welcomed by MCHS, which had lost three of its previous four games entering Friday.
Weather permitting, Mount Carmel (11-6) is scheduled to play in the Robinson Invitational at 9 a.m. today.