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St. John stymies Parkway Christian in MIAC tilt PHOTO GALLERY

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Through four innings, Parkway Christian locked horns with one of the top Division 3 softball teams in the state.

However, the Eagles’ timely defense wasn’t enough to overcome silent bats in Thursday’s season opener against University Liggett.

Liggett ace Emma St. John used her repertoire of pitches to stymie the Eagles’ hitters. The senior right hander allowing one hit and struck out 18 in lifting the visitors to a 7-0 victory in a Michigan Independent Athletic Conference game.

Incredible defensive plays by shortstop Maddy Slabaugh and second baseman Emerson Krolewski held Liggett’s potent offense to a pair of runs. The hole could have been worst for the Eagles, but three Knights’ runners were stranded in scoring position during the first four innings.

Despite the 2-0 deficit, the Eagles (0-1) were still in striking distance on the scoreboard.

“We really were,” Eagles coach Joy Sprang said. “But not being able to see some live pitching before we faced (St. John) definitely put us at a deficit.”

Inclement weather postponed Parkway’s first five games on the spring schedule.

The Eagles’ best chance to rattle St. John came in the fourth inning. Natalie Ferry led off the inning with a bunt single for her team’s lone hit of the game. Eventually, the Eagles put runners on the corners with two outs, but St. John got the next batter to look at a third strike.

St. John, who has signed with the University of Detroit Mercy, struck out the side in the second, third, fifth and sixth innings. She also helped her own cause at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

“It was a close game. We were coming off a 2-1 game (Wednesday) against Lutheran Northwest,” Liggett coach Jim Schmidt said. “But Emma has a growing confidence in her ability to get the ball to move.”

While St. John kept the Eagles’ hitters off balance, Liggett built on its 2-0 lead by taking advantage of a combination of passed balls and wild pitches in a three-run fifth inning. The Knights added two more runs in the sixth when Eve Bournias, who lead off the inning with a double, scored on Ali Alpert’s single. Then Alpert scored the final run of the game on a bizarre triple play. With the bases load and no outs, the infield-fly rule was invoked when Emily Miserendino popped to shortstop. Then mayhem ensued on the bases and two runners were tagged out between first and second base in the confusion.

Parkway pitcher Maddy Schook surrendered eight hits, including four extra-base hits. Jenna Hummel and Maddison Hamilton had the other doubles for Liggett (5-0, 2-0).

Last Updated: 4/13/2017 9:35:28 PM EST