Jayettes overcomes early deficit against Crusaders

Sean Cordy - Sports
Cassidy Heck (right) celebrates after Kennedy Tunink (middle) scores as Libby Hastings goes up to bat July 5. PHOTO BY SEAN CORDY/THE PERRY CHIEF

After the rain postponed Perry’s game earlier this week, the Jayettes (5-22) were anxious to get back to action Friday, July 5. Hosting Coon Rapids-Bayard (11-15), the Jayettes had one of their most efficient games of the year, taking the win 4-1.

With the bases loaded, the Crusaders got on the board in the top of the first inning thanks to a Perry error with the bases loaded.

“It was a big error but that’s what we talked about, putting pressure on them,” Perry head coach Tina Lutterman said after the game. “So that was the difference in the first inning.”

The pressure was kept on Bayard’s bats the rest of the game as Jayna Kenney pitched a shutout the next six innings.

“She had great control over her pitches and she did a nice job of putting it where I wanted it, keeping them off balance,” Lutterman said.

Kenney finished with only two strikeouts but kept the ball in control enough for the defense to make plays behind her, closing out the game with three innings with Bayard going three-up, three-down, getting a little help from her friends.

That was all started with Kennedy Tunink in rare form out in leftfield, which she’s claimed for herself situation moving over from center against Boone on June 20. At the top of the fifth, she registered all three outs, retiring the side with a double play.

“I think it’s really helped her too when I moved her to leftfield,” Lutterman said. “She’s really found a new home there. She’s got a lot of confidence and she’s playing really, really well.”

All that work on defense would have been silent though if not for the offense bumping up its portfolio Friday as well.

Down 1-0 in the first inning, Perry found a way to put three runs on the board against all odds.

Facing two outs after the first two batters, the next three ran through home plate despite only Gabby West registering a hit. As it turns out, that lone hit and pair of walks would have been enough to win the game but the offense wasn’t done yet.

Taking some time to get moving again, West hit the fence in the fifth inning to drive in Tunink to go up 4-1, making a comeback all the more improbable.

“We’ve been working really hard on solid contact and getting your bat angle and doing everything the right way to put it in play, especially early in the count. So they were being aggressive,” Lutterman said.

Not counting Des Moines North’s forfeit, the win snaps Perry’s 14 game skid and leads the Jayettes into a road trip to Winterset on Monday, July 8, hoping to right the ship Thursday for the first round of regionals at Harlan (25-6).

“It always seems like we come back [from a holiday] and we just need a little bit of something to get back to thinking softball again,” Lutterman said looking ahead. “So I’m glad we were able to play this one today and then Monday should hopefully get us ready to play for this week.”