Softball: Pair of big innings helps lead Pioneer over Salem

The Pioneer softball team finally got a chance to play in the decent weather and the bats warmed up in a hurry as the Pioneers scored seven runs in the first inning and added six more in the sixth on their way to a 16-8 win over visiting Salem on Thursday afternoon.

The win gives Pioneer a 4-2 record with Skyline coming up on Monday.

Freshman Sarina Zajchowski took the circle and went the distance for the victory.

After Salem scored a run in the top of the first, Pioneer answered with six runs. The Pioneers jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Ella Markley delivered a bases-loaded double that drove in two runs to make it 5-1. Maxine Mucha’s ripped single and Ella Roberts’ ground out plated two more runs to make it 7-1 after one.

The hits kept coming in the second inning for the hosts. Franny Schulenberg doubled and Zajchowski singled before Alina Mankowski’s ripped single pushed the lead to 8-1. With one out, Olivia Gregory walked to load the bases again for Markley. And, again, the sophomore delivered with another double to give Pioneer a commanding 10-1 lead after two.

But Salem wasn’t going to throw in the gloves and hope for better luck in the second game.

They began to chip away at the lead including four runs in the third inning. Pioneer’s Lizzie Kuras made a nice play at third base with the bases loaded in the third for the home team.

Salem cut the deficit to 10-8 in the sixth inning. But Pioneer responded with another big inning in the bottom of the sixth.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Maixner hit a line shot into the gap to bring home two runs. An RBI single by Gregory and a ground out made it 14-8. Kuras then smacked a two-run double for the final runs of the game.

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