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Andale bounces back, splits doubleheader with Pups

Published March 31 at 11:33 p.m. | Last updated March 31 at 11:27 p.m.

When the 2013 softball season ended, Andale coach Tony McKeown told pitcher Kaitlin Ellis that he envisioned her as a strong contributer for … about three innings.

“I know I can pitch seven innings. I feel I’m a strong pitcher,” said Ellis, now a junior. “I felt heartbroken when he said that. I sucked it up and worked as hard as I could.”

Monday night in Andale’s season-opening doubleheader, Ellis led the Indians to an 8-5 win in Game 2 for the split with visiting McPherson. The Bullpups won the first game 12-2 in six innings.

In the seventh inning of Game 2, Ellis struck out two, her first strikeouts of the game, and the final out was a line drive back at her.

“We talked about this year —we need you to be five, seven innings,” McKeown said. “She said, ‘I’m going to be a seven-inning pitcher.’ She proved it tonight. She did a great job.

“… It was her speed, her control. She has a great changeup, and we hardly threw it tonight. I’m confident she’ll get better.”

Andale’s offense sputtered through the first game, while McPherson controlled it with its bats as it won the run-rule shortened game. Chelsey Kerr, Nicole Cheek, Stephanie Farney and Hannah Marshall each had two RBIs.

In the second game, though, Andale had a 4-0 lead in the second, getting RBIs from Bailey Bugner, Jaiden Easter and Ashton Reynolds.

McPherson responded in the fourth with three runs, including two off a home run by first baseman Hannah Marshall. But it was the fifth inning that was critical.

McPherson’s Jasmine Wann tied the score at 4-all but was called out when it was determined she didn’t touch third base.

McPherson, which was led by pitcher Marissa Axelson in the Game 1 win for a 3-0 start to the season, scored one run in the fifth for the 4-4 tie. The Bulllpups added another in the top of the sixth to tie the score at 5-all.

But in the bottom of the inning, Andale took the lead for good when Ashton Reynolds walked with the bases loaded, earning the RBI. Teammate Bailey Horsch followed with a two-run single.

With the three-run cushion, Ellis was able to bear down and put McPherson away.

“She came up big … she finished it,” McKeown said of Ellis. “It’s important for her and important for all of us. Last year we were in a lot of games, and the sixth innign was our weak inning.

“We worked on it really hard this year, to get our stamina and endurance up.”

It paid off Monday.

McPherson 12, Andale 2

McPherson106005x12 9 2
Andale000200x2 2 5

W — Axelson. L — T. Bugner.

Andale 8, McPherson 5

McPherson00031105 9 2
Andale130013x8 6 6

WP — Ellis. LP —Hoffman. HR — Marshall, McPherson

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Andale pitcher Kaitlin Ellis

 

Andale coach Tony McKeown

McPherson coach Danica Fitzmorris