BHS softball blows past Cyclones
With clock-like precision, the Baldwin High School softball team dispatched the Ottawa Cyclones 6-1 here Monday night in the first round of Class 4A regional play.
It went quickly, but very smoothly from coach Ginny Honomichl's standpoint.
"It was very efficient, wasn't it?" Honomichl said. "There's no need to mess around. It was real positive in every aspect."
Offense, defense and pitching all clicked in a rare "almost" home game. It was played at the softball field north of BHS, but the Bulldogs were visitors. In regional play, a coin flip determines who is the home team. Ottawa won that, but not the game.
"We got what we wanted we wanted to be visitors," Honomichl joked before the game in reference to her team's existence on the road during their first year of play. The Bulldogs have had only one home game all year.
BHS jumped out in the visiting role to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Shortstop Jodie Bacon opened the game with a single and advanced to second on a error. Second baseman Kim Sledd drove her home with another single to give the Bulldog's the quick 1-0 lead. They never trailed.
A three-run third inning gave some breathing room. Bacon reached on an error and stole second. Third baseman Katie Martin drove her home with a double. Following a single by Sledd, pitcher Kyrstan Hubbel slapped a two-run single. That put BHS up 4-0.
The Bulldogs added another run in the sixth inning. Center fielder Emily Black scored from second base on a single by left fielder Tarin Troth. Ottawa finally scored in the bottom half of the inning to cut the margin to 5-1.
Baldwin High answered with another run in the seventh. Right fielder Anna Skaggs opened the inning with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice by Bacon and scored on a ground out by Martin. That put BHS up 6-1 heading into the last half of the inning and the game.
Hubbel didn't allow a hit, but a pair of errors put runners on second and third with two outs. But, the game ended with a fly out to Bacon at shortstop. Time elapsed was just over an hour.
"We needed to play that way," said Honomichl. "We kind of had a downer at Eudora Thursday (a 6-4 loss). But they came out looking sharp tonight (Monday) and stayed that way."
Hubbel picked up the win, allowing just three hits and a walk, while striking out two. It improved her record to 11-6 on the season. The defense behind her snatched up everything hit their way.
"Kyrstan was really on," she said. "She didn't allow them to get on. Emily and Anna were just vacuum cleaners out there in the outfield. Everyone played good defense.
"I was proud of the girls," she said. "We practiced for an hour Sunday. It was on their own time, but they wanted to do it. That's how dedicated they are."
Sledd and Skaggs both had two hits apiece to lead the way. The victory moved BHS's record to 12-7 and ended Ottawa's season with a 7-14 mark. Wednesday BHS will play the winner of Monday's Prairie View-Osawatomie game at 5 p.m. in Gardner. The other semifinal game will be going on at the same time and the winners of those games will square off at 6:45 p.m. in the finals. Winner of that heads to Class 4A State at Mulvane.
"We're taking it one game at a time," said Honomichl.
BHS had learned that lesson in the loss to Eudora Thursday. Baldwin had pounded Eudora in a game earlier in the season. But, unlike Monday, the Bulldogs didn't play good defense and it cost them.
"Maybe there were some lessons learned from Eudora," she said. "We had beaten them badly before, but we just didn't play well. You can't take anything for granted. We victimized ourselves."
BHS will also get the added boost of the return of Suzie Weege, who missed Monday's game because of a funeral, for Wednesday's game. With her gone, Martin moved in from center field, Black moved over from right to center and Skaggs took over in right.
"Everyone switched around on positions and did real well," she said. "No one would have known they weren't in their right positions."
The junior varsity season came to an end Friday with a split of games at Eudora. BHS beat Eudora 8-5 with the help of a grand slam home run by Skaggs and the winning pitching of Kasey Pittenger. BHS dropped a 6-5 count to Wellsville.