Bulldogs battle Hays in slugfest; split games
In the first three games of the season, the Baldwin High School softball team has experienced the highs and lows in three vastly different games.
The Bulldogs (1-2) split games with Hays on Friday, before losing at Osawatomie Monday.
Baldwin started the season off with an offensive slugfest against Hays. Baldwin lost the first game of the doubleheader 18-14.
"There were a lot of nerves in the first game," assistant coach Ginger Crist said. "Offensively, we were hitting. Defensively, we had a few errors. They were just a strong team. I think all in all, we did OK."
Hays began the game with two home runs that led to a quick 5-0 lead. The Bulldogs answered with a grand slam from junior Courtney Johnson to close the lead to 5-4.
Hays added six runs in the second inning, two runs in the third inning and five runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding 18-4 lead.
"It was just nerves at first and we got down," Crist said. "Once we made some errors, we couldn't pull ourselves back up until the fourth inning. Then we started playing better and hitting better."
The Bulldogs started fighting back with a home run from junior Annie Hannon. They scored seven runs in the fourth inning to close the gap to 18-11.
Baldwin added another three runs in the seventh inning, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit.
"We felt like they were about to pack it in, then they pulled it together," Crist said. "I was proud of how they fought back."
The second game of the day saw much less offense from both teams, as Baldwin won 6-5.
"The games so far have gone OK, but we need to work on communication," junior Emily Krysztof said. "We were very excited to win the second Hays game."
Baldwin took a 2-0 lead before Hays scored five unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Baldwin closed the lead to 5-4 in the sixth inning.
Then, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, junior Kim Gilges hit a two-run walk-off home run to win the game.
"We played much stronger," Crist said. "I was a little nervous, because we were in the bottom of the seventh with two outs. Kim (Gilges) is a strong batter and she came through for us."
After the split with Hays, the Bulldogs traveled to Osawatomie Monday. Baldwin lost the game 5-3.
"There wasn't anything one that beat us," Crist said. "They (Osawatomie) hit the holes and were aggressive on base. We are still not to the point of being aggressive on base like we should be."
Crist said the team is not talking enough during the games, which is causing a lack in confidence.
"Still we are lacking communication, so we are not talking a lot," Crist said. "That just makes you a weaker team, because you have to know what each other is doing. They were lacking a little confidence in themselves and in each other. Once they figure that out, we are going to gel a little bit better."
Senior Amy Craig said the team is getting hits, but is struggling on defense.
"This year our offensive game has really improved," Craig said. "We have some stuff to work on defensively, but it's little stuff. Overall, I think we'll have a really successful season."
The Bulldogs next game is at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against De Soto. Crist said the team will be using this week of practice to work on several things.
"We did a lot of communication drills and throwing accuracy drills," Crist said. "That's our goal. We've got to talk and keep building confidence in each other. It will be somewhat of an easy week."