Pitches that were never thrown very well may have been the biggest part of the day in the circle for Alleman pitcher Mattie Buller in a 4-1 win over United Township in Game 1 of Saturday's Western Big 6 doubleheader.
With the Pioneers trailing 1-0 to United Township in the bottom half of the third inning, the Panthers put runners on second and third after a Kyra Schumaker two-out double.
Alleman coach Mike Ebner asked the umpire to send UT shortstop Brandi LaFountaine, who hit a solo home run in the second inning, to first base with an intentional walk to load the bases and bring Vanessa Oliva to the plate. Buller coaxed a pop fly to short to end the threat.
"It was really a pretty easy decision," Ebner said. "I was not going to let (LaFountaine) beat us. We've done it a few times this season, and it has worked every time. We did it against the Rock Island girl (Lauryn Stegall) the other day.
"Both of those two are amazing hitters, and you just can't let them hurt you in a big situation like that."
The Pioneers (19-7, 7-2 WB6) used that momentum to tie the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Jenna Pauley and go ahead in the sixth with another RBI single by Pauley. Alleman's Taylor Parker made it 4-1 with a towering home run just over the fence in right center later in the fourth.
"I would have done the same thing," UT (6-13, 4-5) coach John Alonzo said of the intentional walk. "Vanessa had a hit up the middle her first at bat, but I think she got a little anxious and popped the ball up. We had some chances and failed to execute on some bunts or moving runners.
"We are not satisfied, but we are not unhappy with the way we played. We are getting healthier. We are just young and inconsistent."
On an awful day in terms of the weather, the teams and umpires decided not to play Game 2. They will finish the Big 6 slate on Thursday at 4:30.
"It was so cold and wet. I was starting to feel numb out there," Pauley said. "It makes you concentrate harder. On both of my RBI hits I was just thinking of hitting the ball through the infield and getting a run in.
"I'm not upset at all about not getting to pitch (Game 2). I'd just as soon get out of here."
Added Ebner, "John and I talked to the umpires after the first game, and I told them they could play the game if they want, but I'm going home. The temperature made it hard to play, and the rain made it dangerous to play.
"This game shows how deep we are with the bats. Today was Jenna's day, then Taylor had some bad swings in her at-bat before she got one up in the wind and it blew out."
Along with the intentional walk, Alonzo thought the Parker home run off Megan Dunsworth was big.
"I thought she popped it up and it just kept carrying just over the fence," he said. "Our center fielder said if she could have made it all the way to the spot, she would have caught it. Megan did a great job locating pitches for five innings. It's too bad that one went out."