Losing a year of softball due to COVID-19 likely led to Chanute players eagerly anticipating their 2021 debut. Those players delivered with an exclamation point over Iola on Friday at the new softball field at Santa Fe Park, shutting out the Mustangs 10-0. 

CHS freshman third baseman Marlee Miller had a 3-for-5 day with five RBIs. Sophomore second baseman Preston Keating, sophomore shortstop Brinly Bancroft, and senior first baseman Kori Babcock each registered a hit, with a double for Bancroft.

Overall, Chanute had six hits to Iola’s three. 

Starting sophomore pitcher Kamri Naff struck out seven, walked one and allowed no earned runs and three hits in five innings pitched. 

“Really, they all came out to play. We looked really good (defensively),” CHS head coach Beth Jackett said. “Kamri Naff did really well pitching. Grace Thompson called the game from behind the plate and did an amazing job in knowing what pitch to call. And the defense, when they did hit the ball, they came out and were fundamentally sound and came up and got the out. It was a great defensive game.”

Chanute went on a scoring spree in the bottom of the second. Freshman centerfielder Peyton Shields bunted and reached on an error to score junior courtesy runner Riley Hicks. Freshman left fielder Jacie Costin then sacrificed and scored Miller, and Keating grounded out and scored Shields to make the score 3-0. 

The game broke open in the bottom of the third with two outs and a runner on first and second. Miller scorched a two-run single to score Naff and Hicks, making the score a quick 5-0. Shields then reached on an error, and with runners on first and third, Costin reached on a dropped third strike, scoring Miller. 

The final run of the inning was delivered thanks to Keating, who singled to right field and scored Shields.

The final runs of the game were in the bottom of the fourth after Miller singled to right field, bringing home Bancroft, Naff and Hicks. The final score, 10-0, was pretty much solidified. 

In the top of the fifth, Naff ended the game on a strikeout and two groundouts. 

Naff, who came back from a season-ending volleyball injury and procedure, can still throw a drop, a changeup and a rise. 

“I was able to stay calm and not let my nerves get the best of me,” Naff said. “I was able to just relax because I had my girls (helping). ... We knew that a few of their batters liked to chase the high ones, so we knew to throw high and inside so they couldn’t get their hands through. So that kind of helped us out in the long run.”

Iola’s Kailey Schinstock was 1 for 1, while starting pitcher Jenna Miller struck out two, walked four, and allowed four earned runs and six hits in four innings. Iola on the day committed three errors to Chanute’s zero.

Chanute (1-0) will next play today in a Fort Scott tournament on the road. 

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