Bulldogs begin busy week 2-0
GARDNER -- With four games in three days, the Baldwin High School softball team will hope to carry its momentum from the last three games into this busy week.
The Bulldogs (8-5, 4-3) beat Louisburg 3-0 last Thursday and swept Gardner, 7-0 and 8-2, here Tuesday.
"We got two today and we still have four more, weather permitting," coach Ginny Honomichl said Tuesday night. "We are taking the approach that we are 3-0 in the second half of the season. That's why wins like this are so important for us."
Baldwin will host a single game against rival Eudora today and then one game versus Central Heights Friday. Both games begin at 4:30 p.m. Then the Bulldogs will play at 9 a.m. Saturday in Spring Hill to make up games scheduled for April 25.
"Eudora will be tough," Honomichl said. "They already came down and scouted when we were playing somebody. They are a quality team and they will be tough. Then we have Central Heights and a tough doubleheader at Spring Hill."
BHS traveled to Gardner Tuesday for a doubleheader, and came away with two wins over the Trailblazers.
"It feels really good to come in strong and doing what we do best," senior Amy Craig said. "It feels good to start the week off strong and gain some confidence heading into the Eudora game."
Both teams began the opening game slowly, but Baldwin started hitting in the fourth inning, as the Bulldogs racked up two runs.
"In the first round of bats, we sort of stunk," Honomichl said. "After that, we started getting something going. With this team, you never know who it's going to be or where it's going to be, which is sort of nice. When I look over and see who the next batter is, I like the possibility of what could happen. That's a nice feeling."
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth. With a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning, Baldwin scored two runs.
Sophomore Callie Craig pitched seven pitches in the final inning and struck out two batters to end the game. C. Craig pitched a complete game shut out.
"She (C. Craig) did play well and I think she came on stronger toward the end of the game," Honomichl said. "She is the kind of pitcher that figures out how to win, even when all of her pitches aren't working. Her curve ball was not so good, but she still has enough pitches that she can take sort of an ugly win."
Freshman Tracie Weege scored three runs for Baldwin, while junior Annie Hannon, sophomore Jamie Voigts, freshman Alex Zordel and C. Craig each added one run.
In the second game of the night, Baldwin struggled early on. Gardner loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs. Hannon picked a runner off at third base, which relieved some pressure.
Baldwin was able to leave the inning still tied at 0-0.
"That was big and sort of changed the momentum," Honomichl said. "They had the bases loaded with no outs and didn't score a run. It's not like we don't practice that pick off move."
Baldwin scored seven of its eight runs in two innings. The Bulldogs took advantage of some Gardner errors in the third inning to score four runs.
A. Craig hit a fielder's choice groundball that was wildly thrown home. The throw allowed BHS freshman Chantelle Dietz and Voigts to score.
Then C. Craig had an RBI single that scored her sister, giving BHS a 3-0 lead. Zordel next hit a single and eventually moved to second base as C. Craig moved to third.
Junior Courtney Johnson struck out, but Gardner's catcher missed the ball, allowing Johnson a run to first and C. Craig to score one more run for Baldwin. At the end of the wild inning, BHS led 4-0.
In the fourth inning, junior Kim Gilges hit a solo home run over the left field wall.
"I was pretty excited, because I have been in a slump for a while," Gilges said. "It was pretty exciting to hit a home run."
With a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh inning, Baldwin added three insurance runs. Hannon hit a two-run double that drove in Hannon and Johnson. Weege also scored in the inning.
Baldwin got all three Gardner batters out in the seventh to win the game. Honomichl was proud of her defense, which helps the Bulldogs' offense.
"I am really pleased with our defense," Honomichl said. "We get ourselves out of some tough situations, and that allows us to maybe relax a little more on offense, when we are not always behind."
Honomichl also thought Johnson pitched very well for all seven innings during the second game.
"Courtney (Johnson) had a great game for us," Honomichl said. "This is one of her first complete games that is also a win. She had a good rise ball going this afternoon. She is coming around too."
A. Craig said the team is batting well overall, but can still improve.
"For the most part, we were hitting well, but some of us are struggling," Craig said. "We just need to keep watching the ball and we will come around."
Last Thursday, the Bulldogs welcomed Louisburg to Baldwin. The Bulldogs beat the Wildcats, who qualified for the Class 4A state tournament last year, 4-0.
"I loved that game," Honomichl said. "We beat a Louisburg team that went to state last year 3-0, and they basically had their same people back. Last year, we never got their leadoff batter out. Thursday, we kept her off the bases three out of the four times, which was key."
Now the Bulldogs will play seven games in the next eight days, before they begin regional action on May 15.
"We have been winning all of our games so far in the second half of the season," Gilges said. "We have a big game against Eudora on Thursday, so we need to keep it up. It's going to be long and tiring, but I think we can pull through with some wins."