Lauren Delaney’s pitching masterpiece helped the Helias Crusaders roll to a win against Eureka in the championship of the Columbia College High School Softball Invitational on Saturday at Cougar Field.
Delaney pitched a one-hitter to lead the way to a 7-0 victory.
Delaney, a sophomore right-hander, gave up a double to the Wildcats’ Maggie Viefhaus to open the game, then retired the next 11 batters before hitting Eureka’s Denise Jilka with a pitch in the fourth. She finished by setting down the final 10 batters.
“She’s pretty dominant,” Helias coach Dan Campbell said. “You get her one or two runs and she’s tough to beat.”
Helias beat Hickman 7-5 earlier in the day to advance to the championship to face Eureka, which advanced to the championship after defeating Lafayette 7-1. Hickman won earlier Saturday, beating Rock Bridge 2-1 before falling to the Crusaders.
The one-hitter was only part of Delaney’s gem. She finished the night with 13 strikeouts, getting at least two in every inning but the fourth, helping her team improve to 6-0. She finished the game by striking out the side in the seventh.
The win was the Crusaders’ second of the weekend against Eureka. Helias won Friday night 1-0 in the first night of tournament play.
While Eureka (3-3) struggled to figure out Delaney, Helias struck early. The Crusaders got two runs in the first as a two-out single by Mandy Henke brought home Cassey Kemna and Jessie Burns.
Helias batted around in the second adding four more runs, three of them earned. The Crusaders five hits and an RBI double from Burns in the inning.
Katie Wiegand started for Eureka but didn’t get through the second inning. She allowed five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings to take the loss.
Helias added its final run in the fourth on a Josie Hussey RBI that scored Lydia DeWitt.
Delaney said the early run support helped her settle in on the mound.
“It helps a lot,” she said. “You can feel more confident. You don’t have to make sure they don’t get a run.”