33 strikeouts, 12 innings: South Beloit softball ace shows Rockford area 'what she's got'
On Tuesday, junior hard-throwing South Beloit right hander Trinity Mesch showed Auburn's lineup what she has in store for her opponents this season: a whole lot of dominance.
On Wednesday, Jefferson got a taste. On Thursday, it was Guilford's turn.
"Everybody is going to see what she's got this year," South Beloit coach Sam Cady said. "We're excited to show them."
Mesch struck out five and didn't give up a hit in two innings of work during the Sobos' 3-1 loss to Guilford. That came after she allowed one hit and notched 16 strikeouts with one walk in six innings as South Beloit crushed the J-Hawks 12-0. The day before, she kicked off the campaign with 12 strikeouts in four innings against Auburn, but surrendered three earned runs in an 11-3 loss.
And she's been almost as good at the plate. Against Jefferson she was 2-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBIs, a triple and a walk, and she kicked things off Tuesday with a solo homer in the opener. Against Guilford, she was 1-for-3 and scored her team's only run.
But it's what she's doing on the mound that is grabbing most of the attention.
"She's going to be a great ace for us this year," Cady said. "It's so nice to be able to go from one stud pitcher to another, like we have. And that's two stud, dominant pitchers that can hit."
Mesch missed out on her freshman season when it was canceled of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then as a sophomore, she was in Maddy Carlson's shadow most of the way, but was still a third-team all-state selection. The three-time, all-stater, Carlson, is now a starting pitcher at Rock Valley College.
Mesch is now South Beloit's ace.
Mesch has a five-pitch arsenal to draw from, led by a fastball that has been clocked over 60 mph consistently, and as high as 65 mph. She also has a mean riser, a sinker, a changeup and a screwball, all of which can be untouchable, when she's on.
She's been on every time she's taken the mound so far this season.
"We don't have all those seniors to lean on like we had last year," Mesch said. South Beloit has one senior on the roster this year. "So we're all going to have to come together to get this done.
"And I know I have to do my job when I get out there. I know that."
Junior catcher Mikayla Peterson, a first-team all conference selection last year, led off the season with a home run and hit two out in the first game against Auburn. She's hitting .800 through the first three games, and combined with Mesch's pop, Peterson gives South Beloit a ton of power. With freshman Whitney Schnack hitting between them at the No. 2 spot, the Sobos have a very dangerous 1-2-3 to jump-start each game.
Schnack is also the team's No. 2 pitcher, and she's been busy early on as well. She's already got 11 strikeouts through seven innings, and has given up five earned runs.
But Cady believes his team will get progressively better as the season goes, culminating in a team ready for a strong postseason run.
"This is a really fun and confident group, and this is one of the best energy teams I've ever seen," Cady said. "But we're young, and I told them we're going to get better and better and better as the year goes on. ... I think it's going to be a fun year."