Softball: Brooke Hofer, Andrew shut down Leyden
Andrew took advantage of Leyden problems to give pitcher Brooke Hofer a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning Saturday when the No. 14 Eagles hosted the Thunderbolts in a nonconference softball game.
And Hofer thanked her teammates for the support by striking out the side in the bottom of the first to set the tone for No. 19 Andrew’s 9-0 win.
The senior right-hander allowed eight hits and walked two, but she made enough good pitches in critical situations to leave 11 Leyden runners stranded. She struck out seven Eagles.
“It helps so much when you get ahead early,” Hofer said. “I think scoring in the first inning and then getting them out gave us some momentum.”
Andrew coach Jim Holba agreed with Hofer’s take on grabbing the early lead.
“It settled our nerves,” he said. “Brooke really did a nice job, and we played good defense behind her.”
While Hofer was doing her part on the mound, the Thunderbolts (11-3) broke the game open with four runs in the top of the third. The big hit in the inning was bases-loaded triple by shortstop Katie Christner, which provided Andrew with a 5-0 lead.
“We always talk about getting a good at-bat,” Christner said. “We knew how good (Leyden pitcher) Morgan Maize is, so we wanted to score runs when we had the opportunity.”
The DePaul-bound Maize wasn’t at her best on the mound, allowing 11 hits.
She also hurt herself with two wild pitches in the first inning that helped lead to Andrew’s run on a passed ball by catcher Dana Sullivan. But seven total errors by the Eagles (11-4) didn’t provide much in the way of defensive support, either.
“We obviously made too many errors again and left too many runners on base,” Leyden coach Kurth Schuett said. “It’s going to be tough to beat a good team like Andrew when you don’t play good defense and don’t score runs after putting runners on base.”
The Thunderbolts extended their lead to 6-0 with a run in the fourth, before adding three runs in the top of the sixth. Back-to-back triples by Dani Bestwina (3-for-5) and Kelly Christner were key hits in the inning.
Shortstop April Markowski was 2-for-4, with a double, for the Eagles, making her the only Leyden player with more than one hit.
Holba said the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was being played as a junior varsity game, and none of his usual starters were in the starting lineup.