Kenzy Conkle was at her best Thursday afternoon.
The Beloit Turner junior struck out 10 batters and went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Trojans to a 7-2 over Whitewater in a Rock Valley Conference softball game.
With the win, Turner (15-5, 13-3) moved into sole possession of second place, two games behind Jefferson with two to play. Turner hosts Jefferson on Saturday.
Whitewater (13-6, 12-4) took a 1-0 lead after one inning, but it was all Conkle after that. The right-hander retired 13 of 14 at one point and was in no trouble after the first inning.
Conkle said she just tried to pitch to contact and let her defense do the work.
“I think more than anything, our team really came together today,” Conkle said. “They beat us last week, so we came out today with something to prove.
“Every time a ball was hit today, I trusted that my teammates would make the play and they did. It was a great team win.”
Turner coach Regan Peters said Conkle was the difference maker.
“That’s probably the best she’s thrown all season for us,” Peters said.
“They hit the ball hard against us last week, but today Kenzy hit her spots and kept them off balance.
“Offensively, we like to play small ball, and we were able to push a couple of runs across today doing that.”
Whitewater took a 1-0 lead in the first on Rylee Hibbs’ RBI double, but Turner tied the game in the third on Conkle’s RBI double.
Turner took the lead in the fourth when Alissa Markley reached on an error to open the inning, moved to second on a walk, took third on a fielder’s choice and was driven in by Jocelyn Jordan’s single.
The Trojans made it 4-1 in the fifth. Conkle tripled, and courtesy runner Mya Hill-Brown raced home on a Whitewater fielding error. And a sacrifice fly by Markley drove in Sarah Fay.
Three Whitewater errors in the sixth inning helped push Turner’s lead to 7-1.
Turner finished with 11 hits and did not commit an error. The Trojans have won seven straight conference titles but will need Jefferson to lose its last two games to keep the streak alive.
Whitewater coach Ron Sdano said his team failed to make the proper adjustments.
“More than anything, we need the weather to warm up,” Sdano said. “We’re not a cold-weather team.
“But give Turner credit. Their pitcher did a good job, and they were the better team today.”
TURNER 7, WHITEWATER 2
Beloit Turner 001 123 0—7 11 0
Whitewater 100 000 1—2 7 5
Conkle and Jordan; S. Johnson and Schumacher
Leading hitters—Jordan (T) 2x5, Conkle (T) 3x4, Martin (T) 2x3, Gransee (W) 2x4. 2B—Conkle, Hibbs (W), Beecroft (W). 3B—Gaziano (B), Conkle
SO—Conkle 10, Johnson 7. BB—Conkle 1, Johnson 2