Kianna Pellegrino produced a game-high four hits and propelled Grove to its third straight win to begin the season on Friday, Aug. 11, against Vinita in the Lady Red home opener.
Pellegrino was perfect at the plate, going 4 for 4. The junior third baseman had a double, triple, three runs scored and two RBIs in Grove’s 11-3 win.
The Lady Red capped their first week of the season at 3-0, two of those wins coming inside District 4A-6 play - Vinita and Stilwell.
Head coach Jeremy Collins’ group raced out to another quick start in what’s been an early-season motto.
The Lady Red pushed across five runs over the first two innings and then added four more during the fourth to take a healthy nine-run lead. They have scored twice in the opening frame in each of their first three outings.
How dominant has Grove been? The Lady Red have yet to trail in a single inning. It’s been offense, pitching, flashes of superb defense and everything in between.
Senior Katie Bunch returned to the pitcher’s circle against the Lady Hornets after a day off in Thursday’s 7-4 road win over Claremore and gave up just two hits over six innings to nail down her second win.
Bunch, who tossed a complete-game shutout against Stilwell in the season opener, allowed one earned run on just two hits over six innings. She ended with three strikeouts and issued one walk.
Freshman Laken Malone saw her first action of the season, pitching in the seventh inning where she gave up one run on one hit while striking out one.
Pellegrino made sure another quick start was in order. She tripled to left-center field on the game’s third pitch to set the table for Macee Barnes, who answered with an RBI-double to left. Barnes later crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly to right field by Lacy Rowe.
In the third, Pellegrino doubled to left to score Anna Pace and increased Grove’s lead to 3-0. Emma Fields and Pellegrino scored the other two runs on two Vinita errors.
Grove took advantage of two more Lady Hornet errors in the fourth that resulted in three more runs, and Pellegrino added a run-scoring single that plated Fields.
Grove completed its scoring in the sixth on a pair of RBIs by Mikalle Pair. Vinita scored all three of its runs over the sixth and seventh innings.
Through three games, the Lady Red are averaging 12.7 runs and have collected 38 hits, also a 12.7 average.
Elizabeth Cash and Barnes followed Pellegrino with two hits apiece. Senior Megan Tramel had the other hit.
The Lady Red played at Miami Monday. They will host rival Jay at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15.
GROVE 7, CLAREMORE 4
CLAREMORE - Megan Tramel continued her scorching hot start at the plate, and Grove found some leverage with its pitching Thursday.
Except for a hiccup in the seventh inning, the Lady Red were near flawless once again as they held off Claremore, 7-4, and moved to 2-0 on the season.
Coming off a 20-0 rout of Stilwell in its season opener on Monday, Aug. 7, Grove didn’t break stride against the Lady Zebras.
Sophomore pitcher Mikalle Pair allowed just one earned run on three hits over seven innings to pick up the win. Pair posted one strikeout and issued two walks.
The Lady Red expect to have a solid one-two punch with Pair and senior veteran Katie Bunch from the pitcher’s circle. It’s been proven over the first two games of the season. Bunch notched a shutout, allowed just two hits and struck out 11 against Stilwell.
“We knew she was capable of having a start like this,” Grove head coach Jeremy Collins said of Pair’s outing. “Being able to come in and pitch like that in the second game of the year is huge, especially against a very solid 5A team like Claremore. We’re just trying to find a way to develop more depth and give Katie a rest. It’s a boost to have two very capable pitchers you can put out there.”
Grove was just as impressive with the bats, much like it was Monday when it collected 19 hits.
The Lady Red finished with 10 hits as a team against the Lady Zebras and were sparked by Tramel’s 3 for 4 performance and three RBIs.
Through two games, Tramel is 7 for 8 at the plate with six RBIs. Two of her hits Thursday went for doubles, and she had a pair of triples against Stilwell.
“Two games in and she’s swinging it really well,” Collins said. “She has a lot of confidence. She keeps getting better and better. She’s relentless in finding ways to get better. She’s a three-time pole vault state champion, so that work ethic and that level of confidence comes over to the softball field as well.”
Grove jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the opening frame and never trailed in the contest.
Lacy Rowe drove in the first run with an RBI-single to left field that brought home Macee Barnes, and Tramel knocked in Blaise Redus with a sacrifice fly to right.
Tramel added her second RBI during the third inning with a base hit down the right field line to bring home Kianna Pellegrino and give Grove a three-run lead. Pellegrino started the inning with a double to center.
The Lady Red allowed their first run of the season in the home-half of the third on a Alyssa Poorboy solo homerun to left-center field.
Grove then responded with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to build a 5-1 lead. Pellegrino drove in courtesy runner Anna Pace with a single to right during the fourth, and Tramel doubled and later scored on a throwing error in the fifth.
Tramel added her third RBI in the seventh with a double to right that plated Redus, and Elizabeth Cash followed with a double of her own to left-center field that brought home Tramel.
Pellegrino joined Tramel with a multi-hit performance. Pellegrino had two hits, walked once and scored a run.
Claremore got its final three runs, all with with two outs, in the seventh.
Emma Fields, Barnes, Redus, Rowe, Cash and Pair and each ended with one hit.
Pair posted one strikeout and issued two walks.
“All around, I thought we were really solid,” Collins said. “Of course as a coach I’m going to look at everything. I think we had five or six opportunities to bunt and we didn’t get one down. We’ve got to be able to do that so we can move runners. In softball you have to be able to play the short game some and we just didn’t do a very good of that.
“But overall I was pleased. We pitched well and hit the ball well. We were really good with two outs and with runners on base.”