Jayettes overcome Crusaders in final home game

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Perry's Cassidy Heck bats Friday as Kennedy Tunink stands at third base and Kathryn West on second. Taylor Atwell was on first, and all three scored against Coon Rapids-Bayard when West reached on a three-run outfield error.

For once the proverbial shoe was on the other foot, and the Perry softball team minded not at all.

A critical outfield error — their only miscue of the game — by Coon Rapids-Bayard allowed three Perry runs to score in the bottom of the first inning Friday, helping the Jayettes (5-22) post a 4-1 win over the Crusaders (11-15).

Defensive lapses have plagued Perry all season and caused damage again Friday. An error on lead-off batter Kristin Mahlberg led to a Emma Hart RBI-double, with a second error putting Crusaders on second and third base with just one out.

However, freshman pitcher Jayna Kenney worked out of the jam, recording one of her two strikeouts in the game and then inducing a pop out to limit the damage to one run.

Perry then caught a break in their first at-bat. A two-out walk to Kennedy Tunink and a single from Gabby West put two Jayettes on base, with Libby Hastings drawing a walk to load the bags.

Kathryn West ran for Gabby West as a courtesy runner, with Taylor Atwell (as flex) running for Hastings. All three sped around the bases to score when Heck’s fly ball to right field was misplayed.

From that point forward both teams played outstanding defense. CR-B shortstop Mahlberg made a pair of excellent over-the-shoulder catches, with center fielder Miranda Garcia and third baseman Alexis Kautzky also making solid plays.

Perry threatened in the third when Kenney was hit by a pitch and Tunink singled, but the Jayettes were unable to add to their lead.

Tunink singled with two outs in the fifth, then stole second base. The theft was critical, allowing Tunink to score easily when Gabby West hammered a double off the base of the fence in center field.

CR-B put runners on base in the second, third and fourth frames, but stout Perry defense kept the visitors from scoring.

Mahlberg singled to start the fifth, with Tunink making a running catch in left field for the first out, nearly doubling the runner off first base. Tunink followed two pitches later with an even more impressive running catch, then made a strong and accurate throw to Heck at first base, this time creating the double play.

Kenney threw just three pitches to set the guests down in order in the sixth, then needed only seven pitches to set the Crusaders down 1-2-3 in the seventh and preserve the win. She allowed an unearned run on just four hits and a walk in collecting the win.

Tunink had two singles, two runs scored, a walk, a pair of strong defensive plays and stolen base to spark Perry. Bella Nath added a base hit as well.

Cora McAlister allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits in six frames for CR-B. She struck out three, walked two and hit one batter.

Perry visits Winterset Monday in a game rescheduled from Wednesday. They will then open postseason play at Harlan Thursday, with a special start time of 5 p.m.

Perry’s Jayna Kenney pitches against Coon Rapids-Bayard Friday. Catching for the Jayettes is Gabby West.

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