KNOB NOSTER — The Lady Panthers kept Warsaw from breaking the game open in the second inning, then broke it open themselves in the third as the Knob Noster softball team picked up its first win of the season Tuesday, beating Warsaw 9-2.
A six-run third proved to be the difference for the Lady Panthers. Kyndall Eaves opened the inning with a single and later scored on a single by Jessica Sader. Pitcher Macy Buzzanga made it 2-1, scoring from third on a Joy Sparks grounder to short and beating the throw home. Errors allowed Sader, Sparks and Makalla Bentley to score and Sydney Bierman scored on a ground out to make it 6-1.
“The pitcher didn’t have a whole lot of velocity so the more we could stay back with our approaches at the plate and try to hit it to right field, the better we were going to be,” said Knob Noster coach Mark Carey. “That’s when they understood they needed to stay back and we started to get some runs there.”
Warsaw scored a run in the first when Kylie McRoberts singled to lead off the game, advanced to third on a sacrifice and scored on a passed ball.
“We were being aggressive,” said Warsaw coach Kensie Daleske. “I liked our play for the first couple of innings. I was wanting to get some more runs on the board, but unfortunately we weren’t able to.”
The Lady Wildcats looked poised to add to the lead in the top of the second. The first to batters reached and Madi Grobe tried to move them over with a bunt, but Knob Noster went to third to get the lead runner instead. After Warsaw loaded the bases, the Lady Panthers again retired the lead runner on a ground ball back to the pitcher. Another fielder’s choice ended the inning and kept the score 1-o.
“That was kind of a momentum builder and we took that and ran with it as far as our sticks went,” Carey said.
Knob Noster added a run in the fourth on a Rachel Palomo single to drive in Eaves. After Warsaw got a run back in the top of the fifth on a bases-loaded grounder to bring home Megan Brown, the Lady Panthers scored two in the sixth.
Buzzanga pitched a complete game for the Lady Panthers, striking out four and walking three.
“She’s a competitor,” Carey said. “She knows she’s not going to strike anybody out. She’s a contact pitcher and she knows that. She’s a bulldog. Good or bad, she’s going to pitcher her game.”
For Warsaw, pitcher Taylor Heatherington struck out four, three of them in the first two innings.
“She was throwing strikes,” Daleske said. “She was working hard, had a few walks later, but I was pleased with her effort. It’s hot out here. This is the second night in a row she’s thrown. She was getting ahead, using the changeup, she was working hard. That’s all I ask of her.”
Knob Noster (1-0) will visit Clinton today.
Warsaw (1-4) will host Osage on Tuesday.