By Brian Kalish
April 12, 2012
Wausau– The SPASH softball team, fresh off their first win of the year against Merrill on Tuesday, continued to pick up momentum against Valley Conference foes on Thursday afternoon as they disposed of Wausau West by the score of 11-0. With the win, SPASH improves to 2-1 on the season.
The Panthers’ offense got going in the first inning when leadoff hitter Carly Lass beat out an infield hit and was driven in on a Nicki Hauser RBI single to give SPASH a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Heather Woyak crushed a fly ball to left field for a double, driving in two runs to increase SPASH’s lead to 3-0.
Junior pitcher Angela Lange, who seems to gain confidence every time she steps into the circle, picked up where she left off on Tuesday afternoon, keeping the Warriors bats silent for six innings. The only Warrior who was able to solve Lange was junior Liz Meier, who collected all three West hits in the contest.
Up 4-0 in the second inning, Lange struck out the side in the bottom of the frame, then needed only a handful of pitches to retire the first three Warrior batters she faced in the bottom of the third.
Lange seemed to be in a groove from the outset and worked quickly on the mound, inducing ground balls or mowing down batters with an effective combination of her signature fastball and off-speed pitches. Lange struck out eight batters in the contest.
“I thought Angela pitched an outstanding game,” said SPASH head coach Tom Drohner. ”She was in total control the whole time. They did get a couple of hits– the same girl got all three hits for them, so you tip your hat to her. But we were able to control the offense they had. Angela is just hitting her spots. Her drop ball was working, her rise ball was working and her change up was working. She’s going to keep getting better. She’s got a lot of talent.”
SPASH got another nice offensive performance from junior Heather Woyak, who, if she continues to scorch opposing pitching as she has in the last two contests, is sure to garner a lot of attention in the Valley this year.
Woyak picked up her third RBI of the game in the top of the sixth inning when she smashed a line drive to the gap in left center to put the Panthers up 8-0.
Finally, in the top of the seventh, junior Taylor Smola smacked a fly ball that was mishandled by the Warriors, bringing home three more Panthers.
Senior pitcher Nicole Simcakowski came on in the bottom of the seventh to nail down the victory for SPASH. Simcakowski struck out Kaitlyn Boehm to end the game– Simcakowski’s second strike out of the inning.
While the final box score would appear to indicate that SPASH is firing on all cylinders, the Panthers left a lot of scoring opportunities on the field and were aided greatly by four Wausau West errors.
“After the game, I just talked to them about plate discipline,” Drohner said. ”I don’t thing we did a very good job of waiting for pitches. We just went up there with the mind set, ‘If it’s a strike, I’m going to swing at it.’ Some of us didn’t even swing at strikes. RBI situations are situations where you need to be as disciplined as you possibly can. I tell our kids, ‘You’re looking at one pitch, in one spot that you can drive.’ I don’t think we did that all the time. Some kids did. I thought Woyak did a nice job early on. But our plate discipline has got to get better.”
The comfortable leads in the last two games has given Drohner a chance to get nearly everyone on the team some playing time. The emergence of Simcakowski, who closed out each of the last two games for SPASH, has been a pleasant development.
“Kids coming in off the bench, that’s fun to watch and they’re pushing some of the kids who are starters,” Drohner said. “I think ‘Simmy’ when it’s all said and done, she’s going to eat up a ton of innings for us. She’s got really good movement, really good spin on the ball, and she’s going to help us this year. It’s a luxury to have someone who you know can eat up innings for you.”
SPASH will continue play on Saturday against Portage at Zenoff Park.
SPASH Notes: The SPASH JV squad also won convincingly, 15-0 vs. West.