Prep softball: Kannenberg leads JCC in sweep of Trojans
WORTHINGTON — If Tuesday’s doubleheader in Worthington was any indication, Kelsey Kannenberg is going to be a thorn in many Southwest Conference sides over the next few years.
The Jackson County Central eighth-grader put forth a monster performance during the Huskies’ 21-3, 10-0 doubleheader sweep over the Trojans at Centennial Field. She was the winning pitcher in the first game, going all five innings and allowing just three hits and at the plate, she finished the day 5-for-7 with a home run, nine RBIs and three runs scored.
“We faced some good pitchers,” Kannenberg said. “They did a great job but I was relaxed. Overall I think the whole team did a great job at the plate.”
She didn’t waste any time getting things going. After Blaney Markman blasted a solo homer in the top of the first, Kannenberg ripped a two-run single to give the Huskies a 4-0 lead before the Trojans even had a chance to hit. Once they did, however, it looked like an old-fashioned barnburner was about to ensue.
Paige Kinley, the first Worthington batter to step into the box, lifted a home run way over the centerfield fence. With two outs, Becca Linder slammed a two-run homer and the home team was back within one going into the second.
From there, it was all JCC. A two-run bomb off the bat of Brittany Woodke reignited the offense in the top of the second. In the third, the Huskies scored six before tallying four in both the fourth and fifth. Meanwhile, Kannenberg surrendered just one more hit and three total baserunners during the final four innings as the Huskies closed out a 21-3 victory.
“(Kannenberg)’s been throwing hard for us,” JCC coach Shelly Hotzler said. “It’s nice to see the team rally around her and play so well behind her. Our goal tonight was to come out and play error-free; so to come out and see us play clean ball was really nice.”
Along with her win in the pitcher’s circle, Kannenberg was 4-for-5 with six RBIs and two runs scored in the opener. Woodke and Markman were both 2-for-3 with three driven in, four runs and a home run. Kinley finished the game 2-for-2 with a home run for the Trojans. Linder was 1-for-2 with the two-run homer. Carly Byrne took the loss, allowing eight earned runs and walking nine over three-plus innings pitched.
The eighth-grader from JCC showed she hadn’t lost anything during the short break between games. In her first at-bat of the night, she belted a no-doubter to left, giving the Huskies a 6-0 at the end of one.
“It’s just a great feeling to know that all the hard work you put in has paid off,” Kannenberg said of the homer.
The Trojans threatened in the top of the fourth but Sydney Nyborg was able to get out of the inning unscathed. The game came to a close in the bottom of the fifth when, up 9-0, Huskies’ pinch hitter Bailey Schneekloth lifted a homer over the left field fence on the first pitch of the inning.
“After the first inning (of the first game) there were not a whole lot of positives,” Worthington coach Josh Wasmund said. “We just didn’t string anything together. Defensively we were OK, but our pitchers need to stay out of the middle of the plate, be on the corners and be changing speeds.”
Kannenberg was 1-for-3 with a run and three RBIs with Woodke finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored. Nyborg picked up the win, allowing just three hits over five innings and striking out two. Kinley took the loss for Worthington as she struck out two and allowed eight earned runs. Henning, Allie Bruns and Linder had a hit each for the Trojans.
For JCC, the sweep snapped a skid during which it had lost five of its last six after starting 7-0.
“This was what we were hoping to get tonight,” Hotzler said. “Hopefully this helps us get our wheels back on.”
R H E
JCC 436 44 — 21 14 0
WHS 300 00 — 3 3 3
R H E
WHS 000 00 — 0 3 3
JCC 602 11 — 10 8 0