OTTAWA – Have a day, Makenna Tkach!
Marquette's standout junior pitcher not only struck out a combined 27 batters in a 9-0, 9-2 Tri County Conference doubleheader sweep of Putnam County, but she also produced seven hits in nine plate appearances to record one of the area's best individual softball efforts of the season, all within the span of a few hours here at June Gross Field in Ottawa.
Tkach upped her overall pitching record to 7-3 with the dominating double-dip victory by allowing just eight hits while walking five during the pair of contests.
Marquette (7-3, 4-0 TCC) — the No. 10-ranked team in this week's Illinois Coaches Association Class 1A poll — also pounded out 27 hits on the day, with Tkach leading the assault. Senior Allie Snook enjoyed an incredible two-game stint with a 6-for-9 overall effort after a pair of homers and five runs batted in. Sophomore Ellen Wheatland also went 6-for-9 in total with three doubles, a triple and three RBIs.
But it was Tkach's overall performance that stole the show.
"I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be today pitching, but I worked with what the umpires gave me in both games, so I guess it worked out pretty well," Tkach said. "At the plate, I started out kind of rough, but I think I got seven straight hits after that, so it was a very special day for me in every way."
Marquette 9, Putnam Co. 0
Tkach struck out at least a pair in all but one inning before ending the contest with 14 Ks while allowing just two hits and four walks during the shutout.
The Lady Crusaders added an unearned run in the bottom of the first against PC starting and losing pitcher Aleceya Davis to go up 1-0. Single tallies would follow in the second after an RBI single by Abbey Owens and another in the third after a run-scoring bases-loaded walk to Emma Thomas that made it 3-0.
Marquette added two runs in the sixth off Lady Panthers reliever Olivia Holmes courtesy of RBI at-bats from Snook and Wheatland to up the advantage to 5-0. The Lady Cru would close things out in the top of the seventh as the visitors on the scoreboard with four runs when Tkach (3-for-5) stroked a run-scoring single, Makena McConnaughhay (2-for-5) a two-run double, and Wheatland (3-for-5) an RBI two-base knock that concluded the game-one scoring.
Tkach fanned the last three batters she faced in the bottom of the seventh.
"I would say it was definitely her day today, especially in game one where she kept us off-balance most of the afternoon,” said PC veteran coach Chris Walker. "You've got some quality girls over there and quality softball that's being played, so that's a testament to their program right now."
Marquette 9, Putnam Co. 2
The Lady Panthers actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the top of the first after Paige Veronda (2-for-4) stroked an RBI single and another in the third courtesy of a Holmes run-scoring baseknock.
The Marquette bats awoke after that against PC starting and losing pitcher Alivia Resurreccion. Wheatland (3-for-4) laced an RBI double in the bottom of the third to cut the gap to 2-1. Then the Lady Cru erupted with four runs in the fifth to go up 5-2 after an RBI single from Tkach (4-for-4), a two-run monster homer to right from Snook and a run-scoring groundout from Aubrey McCallum after Wheatland had tripled.
Four more runs would follow in the top of the sixth when Emily Owens (2-for-4) plated on a four-base error, Snook belted an opposite-field, two-run homer to left after Tkach doubled, while McConnaughhay and Wheatland ended the day's scoring with back-to-back doubles.
Tkach wound up with 13 more strikeouts, allowing just six hits and one walk.
"Holy cow, what an amazing day for her (Makenna Tkach)," said her father and Marquette coach Dave Tkach. "We left a lot of runners on base in the first game, but we cleaned that up in the second. Overall, I was very proud of our effort today against a good Putnam County ballclub."
At June Gross Field, Ottawa
Marquette 9, Putnam County 0
MARQUETTE (9) — E. Owens c 2-2-1-0, Tkach p 5-2-3-1, Snook 1b 5-1-4-1, Machetta pr 0-1-0-0, McConnaughhay 3b 5-1-2-2, Wheatland ss 5-0-3-2, Martini dp 2-0-0-0, Cowie 2b 1-0-0-0, Bowden ph 1-0-0-0, McCallum lf 3-1-1-0, A. Thomas ph 1-0-0-0, E. Thomas cf 1-0-0-1, Cottingham ph 1-0-0-0, A. Owens rf 3-1-1-1. Totals 34-9-15-8.
PUTNAM CO. (0) — Veronda c 3-0-0-0, Nutter ph 1-0-0-0, Hundley ss 3-0-1-0, Holmes 3b/p 0-0-0-0, Resurreccion 1b 3-0-0-0, Davis p/2b 2-0-1-0, Friel 2b/3b 3-0-0-0, Grevengoed rf/lf 3-0-0-0, H. Cioni cf 3-0-0-0, Tucker lf/rf 2-0-0-0, C. Cioni ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 24-0-2-0.
Marquette (6-3, 3-0) 111 002 4 — 9 15 1
Putnam Co. (8-7, 5-1) 000 000 0 — 0 2 4
LOB – Marquette 12; PC 7. 2B – McConnaughhay, Wheatland. SB – Wheatland. SAC – E. Thomas. HBP – E. Owens (by Holmes).
Marquette ip r er h bb k
Tkach (W, 6-3) 7.0 0 0 2 4 14
Davis (L) 3.0 3 2 7 2 3
Holmes 4.0 6 5 8 3 3
At June Gross Field, Ottawa
Marquette 9, Putnam County 2
PUTNAM CO. (2) — Veronda c 4-1-2-0, Hundley ss 4-1-1-0, Holmes 3b 2-0-1-2, Grevengoed dp 2-0-0-0, C. Cioni lf 0-0-0-0, Davis 1b 2-0-1-0, Nutter rf 1-0-0-0, Resurreccion p 3-0-1-0, Friel 2b 3-0-0-0, H. Cioni rf/1b 3-0-0-0, Tucker cf 3-0-0-0. Totals 27-2-6-2.
MARQUETTE (9) — E. Owens c 4-2-2-0, Tkach p 4-2-4-1, Snook 1b 4-3-2-4, McConnaughhay 3b 3-1-1-0, Wheatland ss 4-1-3-2, McCallum lf 3-0-0-1, Cowie dp 1-0-0-0, Cottingham ph 1-0-0-0, Martini 2b 2-0-0-0, A. Owens rf 3-0-0-0, E. Thomas cf 0-0-0-0. Totals 29-9-12-9.
Putnam Co. (8-8, 5-2) 101 000 0 — 2 6 3
Marquette (7-3, 4-0) 001 044 x — 9 12 2
LOB – PC 6; Marquette 6. 2B – Wheatland 2, Tkach, McConnaughhay. 3B – Wheatland. HR – Snook 2. SB – Cowie. SF – Holmes.
Resurreccion (L) 6.0 9 5 12 2 5
Tkach (W, 7-3) 7.0 2 2 6 1 13