By Jon Gremmels Herald Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON, Ill. — Many batters fear the situation. Fulton softball coach Jessie Rosenow couldn’t have picked a better batter for it.
Jenna Jones stood in the batter’s box awaiting an 0-2 pitch. The score was tied, the go-ahead run was at third base, but there were two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“I was just looking for a good pitch,” Jones, Fulton’s senior shortstop said. “I was just looking for a pitch to hit, and if was not there, to foul it off.”
There was no way the ball was going foul when it left her bat. For Jones, though, it didn’t feel like what it was, either. Jones drilled a two-run home run over the center-field fence to snap a 6-6 tie in Fulton’s 11-6 victory against Amboy on Friday in Three Rivers Conference softball at Drives Park.
“It didn’t feel like a solid hit at all,” Jones said. “I was surprised it went out. It felt good, but a lot of other girls got hits, too.”
Several of those came after Jones’ homer, as the Steamers added three more runs in the inning that decided the back-and-forth game. All five runs were unearned because of an error that opened the inning.
Jackie Tourene was safe at first on a throwing error and moved up one base each on a sacrifice bunt by Jamie Huennekens and a groundout by Maddy Andresen. That put Jones it a position that delighted Rosenow.
“That’s the one we want,” she said, referring to having Jones at bat. “She’s the leader on the team. She was in a great position on that.”
The Steamers weren’t satisfied, though. After all, the Clippers had erased Fulton leads twice before with home runs.
“I tell them, ‘Get greedy; never be satisfied,’ “ Rosenow said.
“Once we get going in the dugout, we feel unstoppable,” Lesniewski said.
Chelsea Lesniewski, whose two-run home run had tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning, followed Jones with a double. She scored when Olivia Edfors singled down the left-field line. Ann Renkes followed with a double, and a walk by Faith Kennedy loaded the bases. Whitney Wynkoop then assured the Steamers that it would take more than one swing of the bat for the Clippers as she delivered a two-run single that pushed the lead to 11-6.
“It felt good to get the insurance runs,” said Lesniewski, who pitched a complete game for the win. “It made it a little more comfortable. I didn’t have much pressure. I knew they had the top of the order coming up, and I just had to try to keep it off the plate.”
An opening error gave the Clippers slim hope. But the next two batters flew out, and after a double put two runners on base, Lesniewski got a groundout to end it.
“That was one we definitely needed,” Rosenow said of Fulton’s third consecutive win, which improved the team’s record to 7-13, 4-3 in the conference. “Our hitters came through at great times in the game.”
Jones likes the way the Steamers are playing the game, too.
“It was good we came back and played solid,” she said. “We eliminated the little things. Today was the first day we played solid as a unit.”
FULTON 11, AMBOY 6
Amboy 000 231 0 — 6 7 3
Fulton 102 035 x — 11 10 2
Multiple hits — Jenna Jones 3, Chelsea Lesniewski 2, Whitney Wynkoop 2. 2B — Lesniewski, Ann Renkes. HR — Lesniewski, Jones. RBIs — Jones 3, Lesniewski 2, Olivia Edfors 2, Whitney Wynkoop 2.