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Genoa-Kingston's Engel smacks two home runs in win
May 16, 2012Genoa-Kingston High School
GENOA – On some occasions, Danielle Engel will ask her mother if it looked like she ran the bases fast.
The Genoa-Kingston pitcher’s mom will assure her she does.
Engel likes to watch her flyballs to the outfield. She’ll catch herself doing it sometimes, then realize she has to speed up to make up for lost time. More often than not, she’ll make it where she should have ended up anyway.
Engel’s softball coach, Mike Lauer, puts it into perspective.
“That kid can run,” Lauer said. “You wouldn’t guess it, probably, but between first and third she is about as fast as there is.”
That speed was on display Tuesday, as Engel hit two inside-the-park home runs in Genoa-Kingston’s 11-0, five-inning victory against Woodlands Academy in the Class 2A G-K Regional semifinals. The Cogs will play in Saturday’s 11 a.m. regional final against the winner of today’s other semifinal between St. Edward and Regina Dominican.
“When I first hit it out there I was like, ‘Oh, gosh. She’s going to catch that.’ I usually pop them up really high so they have time to wait on it,” Engel said. “Then I saw coach Lauer at third and he’s like, ‘Go, go go.’ So then I started to pick up the pace. But yeah, I like to watch them sometimes.”
Engel, who also got the win in the circle for the top-seeded Cogs (18-12) with four shutout innings and made the final catch of the game on a popout to first base, led off the bottom of the first with a deep drive to center. Woodlands (11-4) struggled to field the ball and get it in, and Engel took off.
She scored standing up before Woodlands could get the throw home. She did the same in the third, with another blast to center that also drove in Megan McConnell. Woodlands again didn’t throw home before Engel crossed the plate.
Yet there was Engel after the game, still unsure of her true speed.
“To me, I feel like I’m running kind of slow, but I don’t know,” Engel said. “Everybody else tells me I run pretty fast. So I guess I do.”
The Cogs will need that speed Saturday, when they attempt to break through for their first regional title since 2008. G-K was in a similar situation last season, the top seed at home for a regional final, before Forreston upset the Cogs, 2-0, to hand G-K only its second loss of the season.
“We already covered that subject,” Lauer said with a laugh. “But yeah, you use it a little bit as a warning. You’ve got to be ready to play.”
Engel said last year hasn’t been a big topic of conversation, but will serve as motivation for the Cogs.
“[Lauer] just said, ‘Don’t be out late Friday night,’ "Engel said. “Every team’s been to [the regional finals] and it would just be really nice this year to win regionals.”