Bulldogs swept by Panthers
Paola A three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning provided enough momentum for the Paola Panthers to defeat the Baldwin High School softball team here Tuesday.
After the game-winning home run, Paola cruised to a second victory, sweeping the Bulldogs. Paola won 7-4 and 11-4. BHS has been swept twice, while sweeping two other teams this season to bring its record to 4-4.
"It was pretty much one of those nights where things didn't go our way," junior Alex Zordel said. "We got some breaks, but they just hit the ball well."
Baldwin began the first game with two runs in the first inning. Juniors Tracie Weege and Haley Finucane each scored to give BHS a 2-0 lead. Sophomore MacKenzie Flory added a run in the second inning and Zordel scored in the sixth inning to help BHS.
Both teams headed into the seventh inning tied 4-4. BHS was held scoreless but was hit with dejÃ vu from last year in the bottom of the inning. With two runners aboard, the Panthers cranked a walk-off home run to win the contest. Paola also beat the Bulldogs that way a year ago.
"It was dejÃ vu," coach Ginny Honomichl said. "Maybe I just don't know how to call that pitch to get us out of that inning. It's been proven I can mess that up twice."
Paola carried that momentum into the second outing as it scored seven runs in the first en route to 11 runs after the third inning. Baldwin produced several runs early, but not enough to keep up. Neither team scored in the final innings as Paola won 11-4.
"We didn't play bad," Zordel said. "We had good defense, but they kept hitting the ball in places where we weren't. We got down and it just got worse. But we stayed positive."
Honomichl was proud of her players for not giving up when they trailed early in the contest.
"That's tough to do when you are down and things don't seem to be going well," she said. "I still think that's a Baldwin thing. Even as bad as it was, we didn't give up. We didn't get run ruled, we hit the ball and we didn't have that many strike outs."
Although she was happy about the effort of the Bulldogs, Honomichl wasn't pleased with all of her players' defense Tuesday.
"I thought our outfield play lacked," she said." If it was hit in front of us, we could catch it, but if it was hit to the side or behind us, we didn't play the ball well. That hurt. When you give them an opportunity to make four, five or six outs in an inning, that doesn't bode well for your team. The thing is when you are indoors so much, it's hard to work on your outfield defense. But we'll work on it, but it may not be something we can fix over night.
"Overall, our infield defense was very good I thought," Honomichl said. "They talked and worked together. I was pleased with that."
BHS senior pitcher Callie Craig was hit for several runs Tuesday. Her coach talked to her after the games and she just admitted it wasn't her best performance. Her back-up, Zordel, stepped in and helped BHS all over the field.
"Callie didn't pitch very well today," Honomichl said. "She said she wasn't hitting her spots and things like that happen. Alex stepped in and did a nice job. I thought Alex fielded the ball well, hit the ball well and pitched well. She had probably the best two games out of her I've seen in a long time."
Heading into Tuesday, the Panthers had played five more games than BHS. One positive that Zordel took out of the sweep was that it gave the Bulldogs more game experience on the season.
"This gets us some game experience, considering we've only had six games before tonight," she said. "It got us warmed up for the rest of the week. Hopefully, we will get our confidence back up for Central Heights and Spring Hill."
After the contests, Honomichl wanted her players to tell them a positive and negative aspect of their game. She even told them she could have coached better Tuesday. All in all, it was a learning experience, she said.
"I asked them to each tell me something they did well and something they didn't do well," Honomichl said. "Everybody could find something they did well and something that the could work on. Me, too."
BHS will play a single game at 5:30 p.m. today at Central Heights. Baldwin will then play a doubleheader at Spring Hill Friday and host Eudora on Tuesday. Both doubleheaders begin at 4:30 p.m.