Softball: Nikki Steinbach stars in Andrean victoryAndrean's Nicole Steinbach pitches against Munster in the fourth inning Monday afternoon at Munster High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 23, 2012 11:03PM
MUNSTER — It wasn’t exactly a good day in the circle for Andrean pitcher Nikki Steinbach.
That is, if you listen to Steinbach’s assessment.
“My changeup wasn’t working and I didn’t really have the speed that I usually do,” the 59ers’ ace softly said. “I didn’t feel right, but I had my defense behind me.”
Most pitchers would gladly take a day like Steinbach experienced in Monday’s Northwest Crossroads Conference game with Munster.
The senior scattered three hits (all singles), whiffed five, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and crushed a two-run homer during a five-run, six-hit Andrean uprising in the top of the seventh inning, leading the 59ers (10-1, 6-1) to an 8-1 win over the Mustangs (10-6, 4-3) at Community Park.
“Steinbach’s as good as you’re going to see,” Munster coach Beth Thornburg said. “She has a great screw ball.”
The 59ers brought their big bats to Munster — crushing a pair of homers and smacking three doubles.
“We had a lot of kids in there new to the batting order that really stepped up and had some big hits for us,” Andrean coach Brooke Baker-Runyon said. “It was good to see that. It shows our depth. I think there were a lot of good signs for the rest of the season.”
Kaitlyn Barajas homered off losing pitcher Anna Kaniewski (4-3) to start the game.
“I was just trying to get a hit and get us started,” Barajas said.
“No, I wasn’t going for a home run, but I knew it was gone when I hit it.”
That was the only run until the fifth when the 59ers parlayed two hits and two of Munster’s five errors into two unearned runs, making it 3-0.
Andrean broke the game open in the seventh, capitalizing on Steinbach’s two-run homer, three doubles and two singles to plate five runs for an 8-0 lead.
Munster scored its only run in the seventh on a single, error and passed ball.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Thornburg said.