BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DANVILLE – The Holy Trinity Catholic girls were on the verge of getting their first varsity win after an eight-year hiatus, but a Danville rally in the seventh stopped the celebration.
HTC held a 12-10 lead going into the bottom half of the seventh inning and freshman Mary Hellige was working with one out and nobody on.
After a Bella Smith strikeout to start the inning, Mackenzie Morris singled to left and moved to second on a walk to Madison Helmick. Carlea Beckman then lined a single to right plating Morris and moving Helmick all the way to third on fielding error that left Beckman standing at second representing the winning run.
Kaley Eisenman would then single to left scoring Helmick, but Beckman got the stop sign at third with the game tied at 12-12. Morgan was intentionally walked to load the bases and Hellige calmly fanned Lexi Moore on four pitches for the second out.
But hopes were dashed when a 1-2 pitch got away and Beckman came in with the winning run.
Holy Trinity jumped out to 4-2 first inning lead on one-out hits by Anna Sobczak and Brooke Mueller, who went 4-for-4 in the game with a couple runs scored. Halie Cain, grounded to second, but Hellige followed with a single to score Mueller before Kayla Box hit a two-run bomb to center to put the Crusaders up 4-0.
Beckman and Waste would each score in the bottom half of the first to get things going for the Bears, but Hellige would get a couple pop ups to end the inning.
Both teams went scoreless in the second inning with Hellige facing the minimum three in the bottom half. Danville would return the favor in the top of third retiring the Crusaders in order, before Danville broke things open in the bottom half.
Several errors and a walk out of the gate scored two runs and then Moore grounded out to third for the first out scoring Waste. A line out to third would record the second out, but a couple more errors set up Morris for a two-run double to center before another ground out to third stopped the rally.
Both teams would add runs in the fourth for an 8-5 Danville lead, but HTC would get four across in the top half of the fifth sparked by singles from Hellige and Kelli Meierotto. Raquel Schneider singled on a line drive to left and advanced to third on an error, but was caught at home on Sobczak dribbler that resulted in a double play.
Danville would score two in the bottom half both coming with two outs. Helmick would get hit by a Hellige offering and would swipe second. She would come around to score when Beckman would reach on a fielding error. Beckman would then score on an Eisenmann single to center before Waste flew out to center for the third out.
HTC would score twice in the sixth highlighed by a Box RBI single to center. The Crusaders would add one in the seventh before Danville rallied for the win.
Box had 3 RBI to lead Holy Trinity. Hellige and Sobczak had three hits each. Schneider and Box both had two hits, while Meierotto and DiPrima each had a hit for the 0-3 Crusaders.
Hellige went 6 2/3 innings giving up eight hits and 13 runs, just four were earned. She struck out six and walked five in the loss.
HTC won the junior varsity game in another close contest 9-8. Sobczak scored two runs and Hellige had 2 RBI to lead the Crusaders. Rachel Menke got the win in relief of Halie Cain.
The Crusaders take on New London Tuesday at South Park in a jv/varsity double header starting at 5:30 p.m.