BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST BURLINGTON – The Holy Trinity girls softball team is still learning to hit varsity pitching, and they saw some of the area’s best in a 10-0 loss Tuesday night in West Burlington.
Falcon freshman Lauren Summers fanned 13 of the 17 batters she faced in the five-inning affair without giving up a hit. The Falcon was just one walk and a hit batter away from throwing a perfect game.
The Crusaders’ Haile Cain and Jenna DiPrima were the only girls in blue to put the ball in play, both were infield pop outs.
Head Coach Loren Menke said despite what is showing up on the scoreboard, the girls are still improving daily.
“There’s no doubt in my mind were improving. Tonight was not a great night if you look at scoreboard,” he said.
“But I can still see things that are happening that we weren’t doing at the beginning of the season and it’s fun to watch them improve.”
The Crusaders got their first win as a varsity squad with an 11-1 win over Hillcrest Academy on Friday.
“It’s kind of a monkey off your back. You don’t want to go a whole season and not have a win. For me it was relief as much as anything, and for the girls it was exciting,” Menke said.
Freshman Mary Hellige again went the distance for Holy Trinity. Hellige has been the only Crusader to throw a pitch this season in a varsity game. She said that doesn’t add pressure to her game.
“It’s been tough, but it’s pretty good for me,” she said following Tuesday’s loss.
“We’ve been losing a lot, but those games show that we’re improving every game.”
Menke said Hellige is young and learning to throw to clubs with eight and nine good hitters
“Mary’s improved a lot. A lot of times you have nine good hitters and you can’t just throw a strike. You gotta mix it up and hit your spots and she’s learning that every day,” Menke said. “A game like this is good for her because she’s facing nine solid hitters.”
The Falcons jumped on Hellige early putting up five runs in the first inning capped by a sharp single to center by Lauren Krieger that drove in two with no outs. Hellige would settle in get the next three Falcons in order to retire the side.
West Burlington would put up two more in the second and then the Crusaders would hold them without a run in the third. In the fourth, 8th grader Logan Kelly laced a solo homer on a line drive over the left center field with two outs to make it an 8-0 game.
Summers would wrap up the game with a single scoring Regan Messamaker with one out in the bottom of the 5th to invoke the 10-run rule.
HTC falls to 1-7 overall and 0-6 in the Southeast Iowa Superconference South division with the loss. They travel to Highland on Thursday.
“Were just trying to focus on having fund and improving – those are our main goals from the beginning of the season,” Menke said. “We knew it was going to be easy, but the girls are having fun and they are still excited.”