By Joe Cardello
The Essex Reporter
Hornet Allie Rutz threw from the rubber for all seven innings on April 16 when the Essex softball team hosted the Cougars. With two outs in the top of the seventh, MMU strung together a quick three runs, but was unable to match the Hornets’ five-run total.
“As a coaching staff, we have been preaching continual improvement throughout the year and we did play better this game than we did our first,” said head coach Randall Wells. “All of our players and coaches know we can and will play better. It was a nice win against a good team from MMU who will win a lot of games this year.”
Wells explained that his 13-player team has surprised him with their offensive prowess. He praised their focus and accuracy in the batter’s box.
“Something that has not surprised us this year is the dominance and effectiveness of junior co-caption Ali Rutz in the circle,” Wells said. “She was last year’s First Team All-Metro pitcher and she was told before the season started that she will have to carry us until we can get the nine new varsity players up to speed. Rutz has done that and more.”
Rutz collected seven strikeouts and allowed only five hits in her tenure on the mound and notched a single in the first inning to aid in the three-run inning.
Emily Harvey blasted a double in the fourth and drove in Makenna Thorne who tripled before her. In the fifth inning, Victoria Bean slapped a double and was driven home to put the Hornets up 5-0.
The Cougars slipped in three runs in the final inning and loaded the bases before a third out neutralized the dangerous situation.
On Tuesday, the Hornets faced a strong team from Rice Memorial and will host North Country today, April 23.