The anticipated duel between the top pitcher and hitter in the area never materialized Tuesday as Lewis-Palmer’s Mariah Peterson fanned Widefield's Lauren Shanks twice on the way to 15 strikeouts in a 2-0, four-hit shutout.
Peterson (6-1 with a 0.31 ERA) has 70 strikeouts in 45 innings for the Pikes Peak No. 1 Rangers (12-2, 6-0), who handed the No. 4 Gladiators (8-6, 4-1) their first loss in the 4A Metro.
Shanks, who came in hitting .604 with 30 RBIs in 48 at-bats, was looking forward to the matchup.
“Yeah, just because she is No. 1 in the state for pitching and I’m No. 1 in hitting, it was kind of like a competition to see who would win the battle,” Shanks said. “And she definitely came to play.”
Peterson struck out seven as she retired the first nine hitters. Shanks whiffed in her first two at-bats, including an opportunity with two on and nobody out in the fourth.
“I knew she was gonna be a tough batter to face, so I just had to dig deep and give it my all,” Peterson said.
After striking out Shanks, the senior hurler sat down Hannah Allgood, and Lindsey Weaver lined out to third to preserve a 1-0 Rangers lead.
Senior Kelli Henry put Lewis-Palmer up 1-0 in the top of the fourth on a home run to straightaway center field that barely cleared the fence at the 200-feet marker.
Lewis-Palmer pushed across an insurance run in the sixth. Peterson led off with a single to left, and Shanks’ throwing error allowed her to move to third. Sam Slabbekoorn followed with an RBI-single.
Shanks, now batting .588, almost made up for it in the bottom of the inning with a two-out single. An errant throw on her steal attempt got her to third. But Peterson struck out Allgood to end the threat.
“We had our opportunities,” said Widefield coach Gary Foltz, whose team has five one-run losses. “We had ladies on the base, we just couldn’t get them around. Ultimately, that’s what cost us.”