Correction: This article incorrectly states that Becka Anderson and Caitlyn Balandis will play for St. Francis in Indiana. Both will play for the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. We regret the error.
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Rams pitcher Caitlyn Balandis and Indians pitcher Becka Anderson put on quite an exhibition in their matchup. Both pitchers were, for the most part, dominant on the mound. They fooled hitters with nasty off-speed pitches and threw their fastballs with precision.
Balandis took control right away. She jammed hitters with tough inside pitches and had solid movement on her pitches, allowing her to strike out six of her 13 victims in a row at one point.
“We have a hell of a pitcher,” Rams coach Jim Maskill said. “She brings it all the time out on the mound.”
Balandis also got help on defense from the infield, nullifying sacrifice bunt attempts and playing good fundamental defense. Her only actual mistakes were a double to deep left field by Indians right fielder Carly Jaworski in the fifth, ending her perfect game bid, and a walk in the seventh to catcher Marjorie Dallman.
Anderson needed a little longer to get it going. She struck out the side in the first two innings, but struggled in between the outs. In the first inning she walked Alice Balandis, then threw a wild pitch, setting up the RBI single by Sarah Saunders.
In the second she allowed two singles and then an RBI double to make it 2-0. In the third inning Anderson loaded the bases with one out before firing two strikeouts to get out of the jam. From there on, she allowed only two hits the rest of the game.
“She’s gonna be fine,” Indians coach Christina Traina said. “She settled down and really did a good job for us.”
On most days, her performance would have been enough, but today was pretty special. It was even more unique because Anderson and Balandis, both seniors, are going to be playing softball for St. Francis College in Indiana starting next year.
“They (St. Francis) are going to have a great one-two combo for the next four years,” Maskill said.