Band members return to help sweep Blazers
Coach Ginny Honomichl was glad to have her team back at full strength Tuesday.
Three Baldwin High School softball players missed last week's 5-2 loss at Louisburg. The Bulldog trio was in Chicago with the BHS band last Thursday, but they returned home Monday.
With its line up at full power, the Bulldogs (8-3) swept Class 5A Gardner (6-8) at home Tuesday, 3-1 and 4-0.
"First of all, it's nice to play," Honomichl said. "We sort of squeezed it in here with the weather. Then to get a sweep was good. It's nice to have the girls back from Chicago to have our whole team together."
The band trio consisted of junior Callie Craig, senior Mary Clippinger and senior Kim Gilges. Craig was happy to be playing again, although she felt like she hadn't played in a long time.
"It was good, especially because I feel a little rusty after getting back from Chicago," Craig said. "I was a little nervous, actually. It feels like I haven't played in forever. It was nice to get the wins."
Craig helped the Bulldogs to the first win as she pitched all seven innings and only allowed one run. She also had an RBI single that scored sophomore Haley Finucane with the first run of the game in the third inning.
Gardner tied the game in the fourth inning, but Finucane would strike again for the Bulldogs.
With senior Courtney Johnson and Gilges on base, Finucane ripped a line drive double that scored both girls. BHS held the Trailblazers scoreless in the final three innings to win 3-1.
"We got some good hits, but we didn't string a whole lot of them together," Honomichl said. "Our defense was pretty good. That helps."
Baldwin carried momentum from the victory into the first inning of the second contest. BHS took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning.
"We jumped on their pitcher early," Craig said. "She was giving us good pitches to hit. It was nice."
Baldwin would later add two more runs to take a 4-0 lead. With the lead secured, the Bulldogs again relied on their pitching for the victory.
Johnson pitched the shut out in the second game.
"Getting a shut out makes me feel very good and builds my confidence even more," Johnson said.
Honomichl was thrilled to see her star pitchers perform so well on the same night, because she knows the importance during the postseason.
"I thought both of our pitchers pitched really nice games," Honomichl said. "It's good to have that quality going in both games. That's going to be important once we get into postseason play.
"Courtney's screwball was working really well, along with her location fastball," Honomichl said. "We called a lot of screwballs tonight. She told me at the beginning of the game that was working well."
Johnson was happy to have her teammates back for the victories Tuesday.
"I missed them very much," Johnson said. "When they were gone we worked with what we had and tried are best, but having them back felt more like the whole team again. It was nice."
The Bulldogs pitched Johnson last Thursday at Louisburg. Both teams were tied through four innings, but a couple of Wildcat hits led to three runs in the fifth inning. Baldwin never answered as it lost 5-2.
"We didn't score enough runs," Honomichl said. "We were actually competitive. We were with them, but we have to get more hits than we were able to get. We got to a certain part of our line up and it just crashed."
BHS will end its week with five games. It will travel to Eudora for a 4:30 p.m. game today against the Cardinals. Then Baldwin will host make-up doubleheaders Friday and Saturday.
The Friday games will begin at 4:30 p.m. in De Soto, while the Saturday contests will start at 9:30 a.m. in Baldwin against Paola.
"We just need to get something out of the remaining five games," Honomichl said. "It looks like Saturday might be our best bet. That's going to be our senior recognition here. We are going to have a recognition after the game, along with ice cream sundaes for any body and everybody."
Baldwin will also host a single game at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday against Wellsville.