ROCK FALLS – Both
Dixon and Rock Falls looked like entirely different teams Monday afternoon than in their first matchup of the season.
The Duchesses beat the Rockets 15-5 in five innings, completely reversing a March 25 game in which Rock Falls beat Dixon 10-0 in six innings at Reynolds Field.
One player that didn’t play in the first matchup, Arianne Smith, made a huge impact at the plate and in the field for Dixon (9-4, 7-4 Big Northern). Smith went 4-for-4 with five RBIs, two doubles and three runs in her first game as a full-time varsity player.
“I saw the ball really well and got the barrel on it,” Smith said. “The pitching wasn’t as fast, so I was able to catch up and see the spin.”
Smith put Dixon ahead 2-0 in the first inning with a single that fell in front
of Rock Falls left fielder Lauren Tupper, scoring Kara Gaither and Taryn Munroe.
Jarrett helped herself out with a two-run home run to left off of Rockets
starter Hannah Blanton in the third, and Mallory Coley’s double brought in Smith to make it 5-0 Duchesses.
Rock Falls (9-6, 6-2) marked the board with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Bailee Reynolds blooped a single to score Molly Buck, Karli Fischbach’s RBI groundout brought in Emalie Chavira, and Blanton singled through the left side to score Reynolds.
The Duchesses, however, answered with seven hits and eight runs off Rock Falls reliever Peyton Burns in the fourth.
Munroe started the barrage with an RBI single, and Smith followed with a single to left that hit the top of the fence and brought in two more runs. Leigha Grove singled up the middle to score Jarrett, Ashley Blythe doubled into right-center to bring in two more runs to make it 11-3. Blythe scored on a wild pitch, and Gaither beat out an infield single to score Coley.
“We’re definitely a different team than when we first played them,” Dixon coach Candi Rogers said. “Elle [Jarrett] wasn’t hitting her spots early, but she powered through. And we got our bats going with the one big inning.”
Smith smacked a double down the line in right to score Munroe in the fifth, and came home on a throwing error to make it 15-3 Duchesses.
Smith also came up with a crucial defensive play in the bottom of the fifth to preserve the run-rule victory. She dropped a ball hit to left by Karli Fischbach, but threw out Chavira at home for the second out of the inning.
The Rockets tried to stay alive with a pair of two-out runs. Karli Fischbach scored on a wild pitch, and Kylie Fischbach blooped a single to score Blanton. However, Coley caught a liner by Morgan Mandrell at first to end it.
Jarrett (6-1) scattered nine hits and allowed just one walk with four strikeouts in the circle for Dixon.
Blanton (3-3) allowed six runs, five hits and six walks while striking out seven in four innings for Rock Falls. The Rockets were without three key starters in Payton Yanes, Payton Johnson and Madi Mellness-Ortiz. Yanes will be able to return Thursday from a concussion, Johnson was out with the stomach flu, and Mellness-Ortiz is seeking further evaluation on a knee injury.
“There’s no reason to hang our heads about this,” Rock Falls coach Kris Smith said. “The sun is going to come up tomorrow, and we have to come right back and play hard. It seems like we always drop some games early in the season, but it gives us motivation to get stronger.”