SPASH vs Rice Lake
April 22, 2014SPASH Softball
SPASH softball overcomes rough start, downs Rice Lake
Posted by Brandon Lang on 21 Apr 2014 / 0 Comment
By Brandon Lang
April 21, 2014
Stevens Point – With such a gorgeous day to play softball, it would make sense that the softball being played would be equally pure. It was stormy skies at first for the SPASH Panthers, but once the sun shone through they revealed their true colors and rallied back to defeat the Rice Lake Warriors 11 – 8.
Those stormy skies were both literal and figurative. With clouds looming overhead, the Panthers came out of the gate with dreary luck. Rice Lake was by no means crushing the ball around the park. Many of their shots were bloopers over the infield or slow ground balls that were finding the perfect holes.
“They were hitting the ball and you have to tip your cap to them. They just hit the ball where we weren’t and it just kept snowballing on us and I felt like we had to make a change,” said SPASH head coach Tom Drohner.
A change was needed indeed. Rice Lake batted around the order in the first inning off of Shaylee Kluck. As stated before, they weren’t hitting the cover off the ball, but some days a team just has your number and today they had Kluck’s to the tune of six runs. Enter Taylor Beadles, who quickly got the last out to get the Panthers out of the inning.
“(She) was able to come in and do a terrific job for us and shut the door for us,” said Drohner.
SPASH immediately had a hole to dig out of, and they did so by being patient at the plate. The Warriors’ starting pitcher, Janet Hrdlicka, was unable to locate a number of her pitches, missing high on most of them. She walked five batters in the first before being replaced by Jessie Dostal, who got them out of the jam, but not before SPASH had cut the lead to 6 – 4.
Beadles started off the second inning beautifully with two strikeouts and ended the inning in four batters, something that seemed to calm the Panthers down considerably. The first inning had been a fluke, now it was their turn to score some runs, and they didn’t disappoint. In the bottom of the second Megan Roth tallied an RBI as she drove a ball past the third basemen to cut the Rice Lake lead to 6 – 5.
The third inning was where the Panthers would pounce and not look back. Beadles once again pitched a great inning retiring the Warriors in order with two grounders and a strike out. Offensively, the Panthers got a huge boost from Brianna Flugaur who blasted a 3-run homer with runners on first and second to give SPASH the 8 – 6 lead.
“We were just trying to figure out a way to get the lead. You just play differently when you have the lead, for Flugaur to come up in that situation, it was big. That’s what senior leaders do; they step up in big situations. I always say players make plays and one of our best players made a play for us,” said Drohner.
SPASH coasted from that point on behind their solid defense and pitching. In the 4th, Maggie Gruber was able to poke one into left field with the bases loaded and two outs to bring in two more runs, expanding the lead to 10 – 6. In the 5th, SPASH catcher Jordan Kawlewski made a nice play and picked off a runner who decided to get to greedy with her step-off at first.
In the 6th, some nice base running by Gruber put her in position to be brought in by Kawlewski’s line drive to right, giving the Panther their 11th and final run. Rice Lake made it interesting in the top of the 7th, scoring two runs off some strong swings but ultimately came up short.
Even with a SPASH victory there are always things to improve on. Looking back on today’s game, something that will need to be addressed was the amount of runners the Panthers left on base. They left the bases loaded twice in the game.
“You never want to lead the bases loaded but hopefully well come up with some big two out hits and we were able to do enough of that today to get the win against what I think is an outstanding team,” said Drohner.
Take out the first half-inning, and SPASH was clearly the better team today. They actually got out-hit by Rice Lake but still won the on-base battle courtesy of the 13 walks surrendered by Warrior pitching. To compare, SPASH only allowed one walk the entire game.
Flugaur was outstanding at the plate, going 3 for 4 with three runs, three RBI’s and a walk. Gruber also had an overall stellar day going 2 for 3 with two runs, two RBI’s and a two walks.
Not to be overlooked or left as a side note, SPASH’s Payton Gaber was injured in the first inning after sliding into third.
“She jammed her knee and we’re hoping for the best. We know right now it’s not broken or dislocated. She’s going to have an MRI tomorrow and we’ll hope and pray for the best,” said Drohner. Gaber was loaded onto a gurney and taken away by ambulance.
With the win, the Panthers improve their overall record to 7 – 2. Their next game will be away on the April 22 against D.C. Everest.