Softball: Tessa Krull pitches Seneca to 3-1 Tri-County Conference victory over Marquette

Fighting Irish sophomore retires 20 of last 23 Crusaders batters

Seneca sophomore Tessa Krull

OTTAWA – In a rematch of Tuesday’s Tri-County Conference softball game that took 11 innings to decide a victor, Seneca and Marquette locked horns again Thursday at June Gross Field.

Round 2 saw Fighting Irish sophomore pitcher Tessa Krull allowing the Crusaders a run on three hits in the first, but then scatter three more hits and retire 20 of the final 23 batters to help Seneca to a 3-1 victory to improve to 23-1 overall and a commanding 13-0 in conference play.

Seneca was the home team after the game was moved to Ottawa because an early afternoon downpour made the Irish’s field unplayable.

“My riseball was really the key pitch for me today,” said Krull, who didn’t walk a batter and struck out 12. “They weren’t all exactly where I wanted them, but I feel like when I really needed to put that pitch in a certain spot, I was able to do that. I also think being able to throw my changeup for strikes was important to set up the high pitch.

“Coach [Brian] Holman talked about making competitive pitches, pitching to contact and limiting walks. Really that was all I was trying to do throughout the game. I do think that after the first inning I did a better job of hitting spots and just pitched more relaxed.”

“Tessa pitched like an all-stater today. I don’t feel like there are many teams in either Class 1A or 2A that would have been able to battle against how she threw the ball today.”

—  Brian Holman, Seneca softball coach

Marquette (12-7, 8-4) grabbed the lead in the top of the first. Maisie Lyons poked a one-out single to right, moved to third on a single to left by Taylor Cuchra and scored on an opposite-field hit by Kelsey Cuchra. From there, however, the Cru could manage only singles by Taylor Cuchra in the third, Hunter Hopkins in the fifth and Avery Durdan in the sixth, all with two outs.

“Both pitchers, Taylor and Tessa, are pretty good. So to be honest, there really isn’t a whole lot you can take away from [Tuesday’s] game,” Seneca coach Brian Holman said. “I feel like the venue change and then having to sit waiting for the rain to stop kind of flatted both sides’ energy a little. We both got off to good starts, but the rest of the game lacked the snappiness this game usually has.

“Tessa pitched like an all-stater today. I don’t feel like there are many teams in either Class 1A or 2A that would have been able to battle against how she threw the ball today. So credit to her for an outstanding effort.”

Seneca tied the game in the bottom of the first. Alyssa Zellers led off with a single, advanced to second on a groundout, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Camryn Stecken.

In the Irish fourth after a tough-luck lineout double play, lefty Audry McNabb, who had doubled in the second but was stranded at third, lined a pitch over the fence in left-center for a solo homer to give her team a 2-1 lead.

“We hit into some bad luck there in the fourth, and then Audry comes up with a solid swing to give us the lead,” Holman said. “She put a good swing on that ball and was rewarded for it.”

Seneca plated its final run in the sixth when Emma Mino doubled to right and later scored on an infield error.

Taylor Cuchra suffered the tough-luck loss in the circle after giving up only five hits and two earned runs in six innings while walking one and striking out five.

“Seneca has a really good team that is well coached, so I think the only thing we could take really away from [Tuesday’s game] was knowing we were going to have to play another solid game,” Marquette coach Curtiss Johnson said. “I felt we did that for the most part, but we just swung at way too many pitches out of the strike zone, especially high pitches.

“It was a combination of [Krull] hitting her spots well and us chasing a few too many pitches out of the zone. I really thought Taylor did a solid job for us as well, like she always does, but against good teams, scoring one run more often than not isn’t going to win the game for you.”

Have a Question about this article?