Home runs lift Bulldogs over Eagles
WELLSVILLE -- Most people enjoy trotting around the bases after driving a ball over the outfield fence. Not Callie Craig.
The Baldwin High School junior softball player hit her first-ever home run here Tuesday night, but didn't enjoy her jog around the diamond.
"It was kind of embarrassing, because everyone was watching me," Craig said.
However, she did enjoy the solo home run, which helped the Bulldogs (12-4) run-rule the Eagles 12-1.
"It was nice, but it surprised me actually," Craig said of the home run. "It felt like I barely hit it."
Craig wasn't the only Bulldog to trot around the bases Tuesday. BHS sophomore Alex Zordel hit her season's first home run. Zordel's two-run bomb came at the end of a five-run second inning for the Bulldogs.
"That was awesome," Zordel said of her home run. "It was my first one this year. I thought it was going to hit the top of the fence, but coach (Ginger) Crist told me to 'keep going.' I kept going around the bases."
Both BHS players kept the balls that they hit over the fence as memorabilia.
"Those balls are gone," coach Ginny Honomichl said. They are souvenirs to the players now. We can't afford new balls, but I kept handing them out."
Baldwin jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when sophomore Tracie Weege and Craig scored. The Bulldogs scored five in the next inning to blow the game wide open.
Crossing home plate during the inning were freshman MacKenzie Flory, senior Courtney Johnson, Weege, Craig and Zordel.
"We came out hitting really well today," Craig said. "We were just really aggressive."
Wellsville scored its first run in the third inning. Craig launched her line drive home run in the fifth inning to build the lead back to seven runs, 8-1.
Baldwin added four more runs in the sixth inning. Flory, Johnson and Weege loaded the bases for Craig. She then hit a two-run double. Zordel popped a sacrifice fly to score Weege from third base. Senior Mary Clippinger reached first on a throwing error, allowing Craig to touch home.
"We hit the ball well tonight," Honomichl said. "Even the people that hit fly ball outs were hitting well. Their outfield was busy."
The BHS players weren't sure the game was going to be played because of the rain that fell during the weekend. Honomichl was thankful Wellsville was gracious enough to host the games that were scheduled for Baldwin.
"It was a good victory," Craig said. "I didn't think we were going to get the game in, but we got it moved to Wellsville. I was surprised we won by so much, because we heard Wellsville was pretty good this year."
Honomichl was happy to win Tuesday because the Bulldogs haven't even practiced since its doubleheader split at Paola Saturday.
"We didn't have practice for anyone yesterday but our pitchers and catchers inside," Honomichl said Tuesday. "So, really our kids came from Saturday to Tuesday. They were really ready to play."
On Saturday, Baldwin split its twinbill at Paola. Baldwin won the first game 7-2 before losing the second contest 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"We are pleased to get the split," Honomichl said. "The first game is the one that counts in the league. It's been a while since we have beaten Paola. They always have a quality team."
In the first game, sophomore Haley Finucane scored three runs and Weege scored two. Senior Kim Gilges and Craig had the other two.
"We got some key hits with some people on," Honomichl said. "Our hitting was more timely in the first game."
Baldwin led 2-1 in the second contest Saturday heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Paola was down to its last at bat with two outs and two strikes facing Paola senior Brittney Miller.
She hit the next pitch over the center field wall, tying the game at 2-2. Paola got a couple of more hits to score the final run of the game and win 3-2.
"We were within one strike of having the ball game in our hands and the next thing you know you got one over the fence and another one scores," Honomichl said. "Now are you down by one with only one turn at bat left. It happens in a hurry.
"I'm sure Courtney would like to have that pitch back," Honomichl said. "I would have liked to call a different pitch, but a super athlete came through with a big hit for Paola. She's done that in every sport she's been in. She left her brand on us."
Last Friday, Baldwin traveled to De Soto for a doubleheader. BHS won both games, 7-5 and 4-0. Honomichl said Craig didn't pitch one of her better games in the first contest, but she knows the team doesn't need great pitching to win every game.
"That's what is nice about this team, because we don't have to rely on our pitching to win the game," Honomichl said. "We've got solid defense and we got timely hitting. We have the possibility for hitters all up and down the line up."
Baldwin will now host Ottawa at 4:30 today for its final regular season games. BHS will begin regional action at 4:45 p.m. Monday at Basehor-Linwood against Piper.